Issues of digital disruption and shifting demographics highlighted in Ashridge Global Trends Report resonate with businesses in Saudi
Ashridge Executive Education's research with 250 C-suite executives worldwide, including the Middle East, highlights key issues that are 'keeping CEOs awake at night'.
In an age where mobile phones and web-enabled devices are ubiquitous, new volumes of data offer enormous opportunities but also vulnerability to hackers and cyber-terrorists. 83% and 75% of CEOs rated mobile disruption and internet disaggregation of their industry, respectively, as ‘very significant’ or ‘significant’.
The report also shows that there are additional concerns related to profound demographical shifts across the globe. Populations in many developed nations, along with Russia and China, are aging and shrinking. Meanwhile, Africa and the Middle East are struggling to cope with population booms. CEOs must adopt different strategies for different geographies, accordingly.
Commenting on the report, Rory Hendrikz, Director of Ashridge Middle East, says: "The core issues of digital disruption and demographical shifts highlighted in the research report are applicable to businesses in Saudi Arabia. With growing mobile and internet penetration in Saudi, businesses are interacting more with consumers online. Powerful technologies are breaking down traditional barriers to doing business, resulting in new opportunities, as well as vulnerability, because of growing cyber security concerns. Saudi Arabia also has a very young population entering the workforce. With people living and working longer, many organizations now face a five-generation workforce, where staff in their seventies and eighties collaborate with those in their twenties and thirties. This trend has resulted in 37% of CEOs in our global report citing multiple generations in the workplace as a ‘very significant’ issue for their organization."
Respondents of the research were also asked to state five strategic priorities for their organisations, with the top three being identified as speeding up innovation, creating a service culture and organisational integration. However, when it comes to skills that businesses need, the C-suite identified communication and team work to be the highest priority, with 58% rating it as very important, while having team members with financial skills and those that can operate with big data and analysis at 51% respectively, as being key to driving future business success.
When looking inwardly to the skills available across their workforce, executives identified that similar skills were available, however to a lesser extent, and measured lower in comparison to the importance they place on these attributes.
The executives questioned as part of the Ashridge CEO Survey came from a range of industries, including healthcare, finance, education, social care, construction, engineering and retail, from public, private and third sector organisations, covering C-suite positions such as Chairman, President, CEO, CFO or Managing Director roles.
Approximately one third of the respondents were female, whilst almost two thirds were aged between 30 to 49 years of age.
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