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How to fund the growth of the region’s entrepreneurs

How to fund the growth of the region’s entrepreneurs

“Developing an angel investor pool in the Middle East will create more opportunities and will strengthen regional economic growth” said Ramesh Jagannathan, Managing Director of startAD when introducing his article for Arabian Business weekly dated March 16, 2019.

Here is his opinion.

How to fund the growth of the region’s entrepreneurs

Financing the angel investment market in Africa, Asia, Europe and America is estimated to be worth $50bn
We live in an exciting age for entrepreneurs. Fuelled by governments in the Middle East, the desire of transforming to an entrepreneurial based economy and boosting investment into building a healthy start-up ecosystem is high-up on the agenda. While there are sufficient funds to fuel potential start-ups in the ecosystem, the risk averse nature of venture capital (VC) firms mean they tend to concentrate their investments in later stage start-ups with crisper valuations. In a mature ecosystem, less than 1 percent of start-ups receive VC funding, and in emerging markets, this number drops by a factor of two. As VC investments continue to move towards more mature start-ups, there is a widening void of funding for early stage start-ups. The effect is not as severe in mature ecosystems as in an emerging ecosystem for a number of reasons.
Angel investors have traditionally filled this void. For example, in the US, annual angel investments of $24bn are being made in over 64,000 start-ups. In fact, 74 percent of all Silicon Valley investments are from entrepreneurial angels, who were previously a founder or a CEO of their own start-up. The phenomenon of “founders funding founders” highlights the organic nature of the process, that they are “local” and have a deep understanding of the entrepreneurship ecosystem and play a vital role in building the ecosystem. This deep knowledge helps to mitigate some of the risks that come with ambiguous valuation of early stage start-ups. More than 60 percent of the angels become active mentors of the start-ups they have invested in and generally take a board seat. More than half of them have a technology background.
By 2030, 88 percent of the next billion people joining the middle class will primarily come from India and China
Having the “right” angel investor tends to de-risk the entrepreneurial process and increases the start-ups’ success rate in raising funds in future rounds. Angels generally see 11 percent of their portfolio producing positive returns.
On the other hand, in emerging ecosystems, there is a dearth of previously successful entrepreneurs, thereby creating a “catch 22” situation. The time scale of the process to build a sustainable entrepreneurial ecosystem is made more acute by the fact that 67 percent of start-ups fail at some point in the process due to inability to raise a subsequent round of financing. The paradox is this: to have a healthy, sustainable entrepreneurial ecosystem, one needs a significant pool of high quality start-ups to cater to a large consumer middle-class and angel investors who have been successful entrepreneurs, preferably within the ecosystem. In other words, while having significant individual or group (eg syndicates) wealth is necessary, they are definitely not sufficient to build a robust ecosystem in an emerging economy, if the wealth is not “hard-wired” to local entrepreneurial experience. Ecosystems are organic in nature.
In India and China, this enigma has been resolved. While the pool of technology talent in these two countries has always been immense, due to the absence of middle-class, post WWII saw a significant “brain drain” from India and China to the US and Silicon Valley. The exodus of the “cream of the crop” from India, especially from the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), was unstoppable after the 1970s and from China since 1979, when the Chinese government started to send its best and brightest students and scholars to the US to catch up with western science and technology. By 1990, about 33 percent of all scientists and engineers in Silicon Valley were from India and China. Of these. 71 percent of these Chinese and 87 percent of these Indians arrived after 1970.
Going forward, by 2030, 88 percent of the next billion people joining the middle class will primarily come from India and China. We are now seeing a significant reverse “brain drain” of Indians and Chinese engineers, scientists and investors back to their homelands. About 80 percent of those returning hold graduate degrees in science, technology or business. China now boasts a sound angel investment culture, and while it’s still in its early stages in India it is gaining steam rapidly as the VC infrastructure is getting foundationally strong.
Turning our focus now to the UAE, and the GCC countries, the opportunity to “ride the wave” of India and China’s global tech dominance is crystal clear. But there are still gulfs to cross, such as the absence of a large, local technology talent pool. Without a disciplined and informed state-of-the-art process that dovetails to a VC infrastructure – by leveraging the local societal sensibilities and strategic inter-governmental alliances – the strength of access to large sums of local capital could quickly become our Achilles’ heel.
By all the ingredients for a master recipe to create a dominant UAE digital economy are in place and we need to diligently prepare, suit up and ride the long wave
Peter Thiel, co-founder of PayPal, discussed the role of governments in stimulating entrepreneurial ecosystems and compares the strengths of funding (supply side) versus founding based (demand) policies. Thiele recommended supply side policies as a mechanism to catalyse growth. However, in emerging economies, we could describe it as a “many body problem”.
We need to stimulate the process of accelerating the flow of global start-up talent into the ecosystem through the UAE.
Besides the government, this process should embed the local competency private sector stakeholders, such as in aviation, energy, transportation and logistics and finance industries. The Venture Launchpad programme at startAD is a classic example that shows significant promise.
Simultaneously, we should educate the regional angel investors about the mechanics and rigors of angel investment in digital start-ups and democratise access. The annual Angel Rising Symposium, now in its fifth year, brings the best minds from around the globe to discuss the best practises that are regionally relevant. The third piece of the puzzle is about building local capacity. StartAD and Khalifa Fund are partnering together to build the acceleration ramp to the global digital economic highway through programmes such as Ibtikari and Pitch@Palace.
All the ingredients for a master recipe to create a dominant UAE digital economy are in place and we need to diligently prepare, suit up and ride the long wave, leading the MENA region.

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Is digital intelligence the key to the Fourth Industrial Revolution?

Is digital intelligence the key to the Fourth Industrial Revolution?

Bas Burger, CEO of BT’s Global Services division, takes a look and elaborates in this article dated February 1st, 2019 as an answer to everyone’s question that’s Is digital intelligence the key to the Fourth Industrial Revolution?

The future is digital.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution is catapulting us towards a connected society. Improvements in the availability and delivery of communications services means there are now more than four billion internet users, over half the world’s population.

But digital literacy and skills aren’t spreading as fast as connectivity. And that increases cyber-risks, widens the gender divide and creates skills shortages. For example, children living in countries with low ICT penetration are 1.3 times more likely to be involved with cyber-risks than those in countries with high ICT penetration. By 2022, only 30% of the digital workforce will be women and the UK alone will need an additional 500,000 workers in digital industries by 2022. In the US, of the nearly six million jobs expected to require tech skills in the future, there’s a projected pool of only 3.2 million candidates.

As I talk to my peers leading multinational organisations, skills and talent shortages is one of their top concerns, no matter what industry or region they are based in. It’s easy to see why. 90% of jobs will need digital skills in the next three years. And at a time when most of our organisations are undergoing a digital transformation, the digital skills gap is hampering progress in 54% of our organisations and is costing our economies billions.

But as a father, what really brought home to me the challenge we face was that 65% of children starting school today will hold jobs in the future that don’t yet exist.

Skills are no longer enough

Increasingly though I find that digital literacy and skills are no longer enough. Young people grow up surrounded by technology, but too many have no idea how it all works – and don’t fully appreciate how it will shape their futures. They see it as being geeky, not relevant, too hard or even a waste of their time. If you talk to non-users of the internet, they don’t talk about not having the right skills. They talk about it not being for them.

When I look at our workforce, competencies like data analytics and coding aren’t always the initial key to getting an exciting job. One of our most promising young cyber security apprentices, Rachel, studied music, not coding. The skills, abilities and attitudes Rachel learnt playing the violin are now helping her flourish in her role in our security team.

The rise of digital intelligence

The Coalition for Digital Intelligence calls this new requirement ‘digital intelligence’ – not only technical skills but also abilities related to managing screen time, critical thinking and digital empathy. Singapore’s Digital Readiness Blueprint highlights this with its recommendation of spelling out a set of basic digital skills for everyday activities. These skills include searching for information on the Web, making cashless payments, using messaging and digital government services, and spotting fake news and online scams.

With the skills gap forecast to quadruple between 2020 and 2030, as leaders, businesses and governments, we need to build a culture where young people see tech know-how as the new way to get ahead and make the most of technology’s power to shape their lives. A culture of creative problem-solving based on digital capability. That’s why I’m delighted that BT is supporting the Coalition for Digital Intelligence.

Helping people get more from technology

That’s why we’re scaling up our drive to help people get more from technology through enabling, inspiring and equipping. Enabling teachers and parents to show the way, inspiring young people to find technology relevant and interesting and equipping schools to use technology effectively.

We’ve focussed our initial efforts on supporting primary school teachers because they play a crucial role in setting children’s attitudes and aspirations. We’ve already trained 63,000 teachers and two million children as part of our Barefoot Computing project. Free learning materials and games encourage kids’ computational thinking, helping them understand the building blocks of the digital world, like logic, sequencing, abstraction and programming. Barefoot resources also help to develop other important digital intelligence skills like numeracy, literacy, collaboration and problem-solving.

Of course, it’s not just young children. Amongst teenagers, much of the focus of digital skills is on staying safe. That’s vital, but we also need to make the digital world more transparent and empowering. Our innovation hothousing techniques helped us come up with new ways to support kids understand the commercial realities of the internet and navigate the digital world with confidence, answering questions like how companies and YouTube stars make money online, why gaming is addictive and why they find it difficult to put their devices down.

At a time when Globalisation 4.0 needs global, digital citizens, I believe that a lack of digital intelligence is an obstacle for people and the organisations that employ them. We have to address it now to enable people, and our organisations, to succeed in the future.

UAE tops MENA for wage equality, but . . .

UAE tops MENA for wage equality, but . . .

GULF BUSINESS Economy posted this enlightening article by Aarti Nagraj on how It will take the MENA economies “153 years to close the gender gap at the current rate of change”

UAE tops MENA for wage equality, Arab region remains world’s least gender-equal

The UAE has been ranked as the top country in the Middle East and North Africa for wage equality, according to a new report released by the World Economic Forum (WEF).

However, the UAE’s performance on the WEF’s Global Gender Gap Report 2018’s wage equality indicator saw a slight decrease compared to last year, a statement said.

The Emirates also topped the region in terms of the number of women in ministerial positions, with improvements recorded in gender parity in the legislators, senior officials and managers and healthy life expectancy indicators.

Overall, the report found that despite the gender gap across the MENA region closing narrowly in 2018, it remains the world’s least gender-equal region.

It will take the Middle East and North Africa economies “153 years to close the gender gap at the current rate of change”, the report stated.

While Tunisia topped the region for gender equality – ranking 119 globally, the UAE ranked 121 with the gender gap closed at 64.2 per cent. Saudi Arabia, ranked 141 with a 59 per cent gender gap rate, showed “modest progress”, with improvement in wage equality and women’s labour force participation, the report stated.

Globally, the report found that the global gender gap only slightly reduced in 2018, as stagnation in the proportion of women in the workplace and women’s declining representation in politics, along with greater inequality in access to health and education, offset improvements in wage equality and the number of women in professional positions.

According to the report, the world has closed 68 per cent of its gender gap, as measured across four key pillars: economic opportunity; political empowerment; educational attainment; and health and survival.

Last year was the first since the report began publishing in 2006 that the gap between men and women widened.

At the current rate of change, the report indicated that it will take 108 years to close the overall gender gap and 202 years to bring about parity in the workplace.

Globally, having closed more than 85.8 per cent of its overall gender gap, Iceland topped the list for the 10th consecutive year. It was followed by Norway, Sweden, Finland and Nicaragua.

“The economies that will succeed in the Fourth Industrial Revolution will be those that are best able to harness all their available talent,” said Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the WEF.

“Proactive measures that support gender parity and social inclusion and address historical imbalances are therefore essential for the health of the global economy as well as for the good of society as a whole.”

The report also found that while the income gap between men and women has become narrower, fewer women are participating in the workforce.

“This a worrisome development for which there are a number of potential reasons,” the report said.

“One is that automation is having a disproportionate impact on roles traditionally performed by women. At the same time, women are under-represented in growing areas of employment that require STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) skills and knowledge. Another potential reason is that the infrastructure needed to help women enter or re-enter the workforce – such as childcare and eldercare – is under-developed and unpaid work remains primarily the responsibility of women,” the report explained.

“The corollary is that the substantial investments made by many economies to close the education gap are failing to generate optimal returns in the form of growth.”

According to Saadia Zahidi, head of the Centre for the New Economy and Society and member of the WEF managing board, industries must “proactively hardwire gender parity in the future of work through effective training, reskilling and upskilling interventions and tangible job transition pathways”.

“It’s in their long-term interest because diverse businesses perform better,” she added. e-height:norm

Iran’s labour market failing to generate adequate employment

Iran’s labour market failing to generate adequate employment

Nader Habibi and Gholamreza Keshavarz Haddad in the University World News of June 8, 2018,  Issue No:509 elaborate on the lack of employment for university graduates after completing their degrees in Iran. Unlike all its peer countries in the MENA region, and despite all the difficulties, Iran has managed to sustain as normal a life as it could muster, but being no exception, Iran’s labour market failing to generate adequate employment could be looked from a different angle; that of normality. As a matter of fact, all MENA countries, monarchies and republics alike are to a certain degree, going through the same trauma: that of unemployment.  In any case, here is that article.

Graduates push school leavers out of low-skill jobs

In recent years Iran’s labour market has failed to generate adequate employment for the growing number of university graduates. As a result, not only has the unemployment rate among university graduates sharply increased, but a growing number of university graduates who have found employment are working in occupations that do not require university skills.

In the past three decades Iran has experienced a sharp increase in the annual enrolment of university students. The annual admission to institutions of higher education rose from 146,115 in the 1991-92 academic year to 1,174,897 in 2015-16, while the total number of students in higher education institutions rose from 588,228 in 1991-92 to 4,348,383 in the 2015-16 academic year.

This sharp increase was a result of a strong social demand for university education. Policy-makers reacted positively to this growing demand by rapidly expanding the admissions capacity of universities. Moreover, the government was able to limit the fiscal burden of this policy by allowing for the creation and expansion of private and non-profit universities such as the Islamic Azad University.

As a result of these developments the number of university graduates has sharply increased, but the quantity of new job vacancies has not kept pace with this growing supply. The impact of this labour market imbalance is visible, reflected in a high unemployment rate for university graduates. While overall unemployment has oscillated between 10% and 12% in the past decade, the unemployment rate for young university graduates has been between 15% and 20%.

This situation has received considerable attention in the domestic media and it is often referred to as a graduate unemployment crisis. The 2016 labour market statistics indicate that there were 1.185 million unemployed university graduates – some 36% of the total number of unemployed people. They included 797,000 graduates with four-year (bachelor) degrees and 224,000 with two-year (associate) degrees. The remaining 163,000 had masters and doctoral degrees.

This condition represents a substantial waste of higher education resources and human capital for the Iranian economy.

Overeducation

The high unemployment rate among university graduates, however, is not the only adverse consequence of the excess supply of university graduates in Iran. A growing number of university graduates who manage to find a job are employed in jobs that do not require university skills or do not match their university skills. As a result they are securing these jobs at the expense of less educated workers. In other words, a growing percentage of employees in low-skilled and semi-skilled jobs are university graduates who are overeducated for these positions.

A domestic online news site attracted attention to the plight of these university graduates by posting several photos in a July 2016 article.

For a more accurate investigation of the growing number of overeducated persons who are active in Iran’s labour market, we have calculated the share of employees in various occupations who hold at least a two-year associate degree from a higher education institution. The data for our analysis comes from the annual Households Income and Expenditure Survey database that is produced by the Statistical Center of Iran.

In this annual survey the level of education and job categories of wage-earning workers and self-employed individuals are available and allow us to calculate the share of overeducated workers in each occupation category. Our findings show that the share of economically active individuals in low- and unskilled jobs who have a university degree is on the rise.

We observe that in all of these occupational categories the share of employees with at least a two-year degree has consistently increased. Occupations in the service and retail sector have experienced the largest replacement of less educated workers with university graduates.

We observe that by 2015 nearly 57% of employees in office work and customer service occupations had at least an associate degree. For sales-related occupations, the share of workers with university degrees grew from 4.3% in 2001 to 17.3% in 2015.

As for lower skill categories, such as vehicle drivers, or unskilled workers, the share of employees with university degrees is relatively small, but an upward trend is noticeable.

Among unskilled service sector workers, for example, the share of university graduates increased from 0.7% in 2001 to 7.1% in 2015. These are mainly manual and routine tasks for which no university degree is required and a university graduate will rarely work in these occupations if a more skilled job is available.

We have calculated that the share of workers with at least an undergraduate degree in semi-skilled and unskilled categories is substantial in several categories, such as office and retail workers.

Furthermore, in all unskilled occupations that do not require even a high school diploma, we observe that the share of workers with undergraduate degrees ranged between 1% and 4% in 2015. While these university graduates must have felt fortunate to be employed, they are clearly not using their university skills in these occupations.

Self-employment

As for the self-employed in semi-skilled and unskilled economic activities, the number who have completed at least a two-year university degree is also rising in Iran. This growth is particularly noticeable in agriculture, industry and construction, rising from under 1% in 2001 to more than 6.5% in 2015. Furthermore, at least 5% of the self-employed working in unskilled industrial and agricultural activities hold four-year degrees.

One of the undesirable consequences of the trends that we have observed is that the trickle down of higher-educated jobseekers into low-skilled jobs is crowding out the less educated workers from low-skilled positions. This process pushes a share of high school graduates from employment in low-skilled jobs into unemployment.

The reduction of job opportunities and the higher risk of unemployment for high school graduates might compel them to enrol in a university degree programme in order to improve their chances of employment, even in occupations that do not require university degrees.

This adverse incentive will lead to a high rate of participation in higher education without any direct connection to a labour market demand for university skills.

Photo credit: IranKhabar online news

  • The employment data presented in this article are available in this online file.

Nader Habibi is Henry J Leir Professor of Practice in Economics of the Middle East at the Crown Center for Middle East Studies and senior lecturer in the department of economics, Brandeis University, United States. Gholamreza Keshavarz Haddad is visiting faculty at the Crown Center for Middle East Studies at Brandeis University and is associate professor at the Graduate School of Management and Economics, Sharif University of Technology, Iran.

Qatari companies send workers on unpaid extended leave

Qatari companies send workers on unpaid extended leave

A Technical Committee of the OPEC and 11 non-members are meeting today in Abu Dhabi to as put by the Emirates News Agency http://wam.ae/en/details/1395302626261. They identify ways and means of raising levels of conformity. obviously review and discuss possibilities to reinforce their year old decision to pursue and potentially overhaul their production cut so as to possibly reach their goal of price sustenance if not increase. Meanwhile, a US shale oil surge and the recent crisis among the world’s greatest oil producer countries are certainly not helping the cartel’s future. In Qatar, everyday life because of this crisis is turning sour by the day as witnessed by hundreds of migrant workers. This article on how Qatari companies send workers on unpaid extended leave in order to maintain their businesses alive whilst the Gulf crisis drags on. 

Doha West Bay

QATARI COMPANIES SEND WORKERS ON UNPAID EXTENDED LEAVE AS GULF CRISIS CONTINUES

Aug 6 2017

The first month of the Saudi and UAE-led blockade on Doha did not visibly impact the daily lives’ of most people. However, as the blockade closes on its second month, the effects are increasingly felt by migrants in the hospitality, construction and shipping industries.

Employees in these sectors have been asked to go on unpaid ‘long leave’ for two to three months, in addition to their standard 30 days of paid annual leave.

Hospitality

Some popular five-star hotels have asked several employees to take additional leave due to lack of business. Although official figures estimate 61% hotel occupancy, employees claim a far lower rate.

“Six restaurants in our hotel has been closed. We have more than 550 rooms but only a few are occupied now. Most of our restaurant staff and others have been sent on long leave. It’s in addition to the entitled annual leave. Some are sent on three months, others on four months of extra leave. But they won’t pay for this additional leave. Although they assure us,  we are not sure if will be called back to work or the hotel will extend the leave,” said Leela, an employee of a five-star hotel. She is the breadwinner for her family back home in Sri Lanka and fears the new uncertainty in her job.

“My annual leave will be due in another two months. If the situation continues it will affect me as well. Our salary is only QR 3000. I can’t imagine being without a salary for three months,” she added.

Sarah, another hotel employee working as a kitchen aide said, “initially the hotel management asked which of us wishes to go on six months unpaid leave, due to lack of guests. Then later they told some employees to take three months extra leave in addition to our annual leave. Many have been sent on at least two months of unpaid leave.”

Construction

As the majority of construction materials are imported from neighbouring countries or brought in by land through those borders, this sector has also slowed down and some employees currently on annual leave have been asked to not come back for another two months.

“There are some materials in stock, but they’ll run out soon. It will take at least six months to bring materials from other countries and to find alternative routes. Some of our staff on annual leave have been asked to not return for a couple of months,” according to a quantity surveyor at a construction company.

Similarly, employees of some shipping agents have been asked to take at least four months unpaid leave due to lack of work. Their children and spouses have also had to leave the country. Most shipping and clearance agents work closely with their sister companies in neighbouring GCC countries.

“I’m given four months unpaid leave. My wife is not working so we can’t manage if I’m not paid. I have two children studying here. So we decided to go home and enrol our children at schools there. I will come back if things return to normal and if my employer decides to keep me on the job,” said Satish, an Indian expatriate working for a shipping and clearance agent.

Read more in the original document.

 

Wave of Fossil Fuel Dislike amongst the Young

Wave of Fossil Fuel Dislike amongst the Young

Further to our Demand May Top Out Before Supply Does, here is an interesting article on the side-lines of one of the Oil Industry’s main concerns as elaborated on this report of the IBT on the recently held 22nd World Petroleum Congress – Istanbul, 2017 where it was a question of how age and gender could obviously affect the industry to survive this wave of fossil fuel dislike amongst the young.  The unleashing of a frenzy amongst today’s youth as Fossil Free is a growing international divestment movement calling for organisations, institutions and individuals to demonstrate climate leadership and end their financial support for the fossil fuel industry.

No industry for old men: Why ‘Big Oil’ needs to woo younger, female workforce

WPC 2017

Energy industry’s lack of appeal for women and the young remains a major cause for concern.

By Gaurav Sharma in Istanbul, Turkey

Updated on July 14, 2017 20:22 BST

It may not be as pressing an issue for the World Petroleum Congress (WPC) as the crude oil price slump, but had you asked around the oil and gas industry’s recently concluded triennial jamboree held in Istanbul, Turkey, plenty of high profile people would point to a lack of female executives as a major concern.

Furthermore, equally concerning is the perceived loss of the industry’s appeal for young professionals choosing a career pathway. To his credit, Dr Jozsef Toth, President of World Petroleum Council, which has been organising the congress since 1933, acknowledged the problem in his very first quip of the event.

“Oil and gas will play a role in the energy mix for decades to come. Yet, at the same time the number of people joining the energy industry is declining.”

Much more needs to be done when it comes addressing the gender balance in the business, he added. “We are committed to changing this, as well as showcasing the talent of female industry executives to inspire.”

That’s all well and good; but a cursory look around the WPC plenary halls, auditoriums and corridors by your correspondent found an overwhelming number of delegates of the male and middle-aged variety, regardless of which country they were travelling from.

Of course, there was a young professionals’ floor and youth congress, and events such as a youth night and a ‘Women in Energy’ breakfast.

Despite being well-intentioned objectives aimed at promoting dialogue, to many participants interviewed by IBTimes UK they seemed to be perfunctory box-ticking exercises being conducted because a mega industry event of the WPC’s size could not possibly, not have them. The previous Congress in Doha (2011) and Moscow (2014) had the very same events.

Hope is that the hard work in attracting young recruits and tackling the gender imbalance will finally begin in earnest once WPC’s 6,000-odd delegates, 500 CEOs, 50 Ministers and heads of state go home and ponder about it.

For that to happen, it is worth getting a deeper understanding of the problem first, according to Deborah Byers, US Oil & Gas Practice leader at global consultancy EY. A recent polling exercise in the US by Byers’ colleagues found that most of the younger generation perceive oil and gas jobs as a bit too blue collar and dangerous.

“That’s generation Z – or post-Millennials – typically born in the mid-1990s to early 2000s to you and me. We also find a disconnect between what oil and gas executives think young people want from a career and what they actually want. There’s a general lack of awareness about the industry and the careers that power it, and a substantial gender gap.”

When EY asked which three considerations are the most important in selecting a future career, both Millennials and Generation Z, as a whole, prioritised salary (56%), good work-life balance (49%), job stability (37%) and on-the-job happiness (37%).”

However, oil and gas executives polled expected the leading career drivers for young people to be salary (72%), technology (43%), good work-life balance (38%), and the opportunity to try new roles (28%). The study also found that only 24% of women in the 16-35 age group find oil and gas jobs appealing, while 54% of men in the same age range find them appealing.

The findings were based on a survey of 1,204 US consumers and 109 industry executives conducted earlier this year. In the wider scheme of things, the consultancy’s findings offer only a glimpse into the thinking of female and young people hunting career prospects. However, what it also does is flag up the enormity of the task ahead.

“In an era of lower for longer, some say lower forever oil prices, the industry has a call to action to solve this perception problem for the sake of their future workforce and their success,” Byers concludes.

Dr Jozsef Toth, President of World Petroleum Council, says the industry must improve its appeal to younger recruits and female aspirants.Gaurav Sharma / IB Times UK

Paradoxically, Eithne Treanor, a seasoned energy sector broadcaster and conference moderator based in Dubai, feels it’s the low price environment that is putting people off.

“Oil and gas companies aren’t in hiring mode in any case to begin with, as opportunities from geology to engineering, management to on-site operations dwindle. Furthermore, young people and suitable female candidates ask themselves should I really choose a future in an industry that’s in decline or at least appears to be.”

While the oil price environment is a relatively recent development, Treanor said the industry’s problem of attracting fewer qualified female professionals and its lack of appeal to youngsters also has to do with historical reputational problems.

“The industry has been quite poor at engaging with young people, something I feel it is attempting to rectify. When the idea is to catch them young, leaving it till they are at university is a bit too late; I’d say go all the way lower to junior school.

“For example – a programme started by a science professor in Lebanon called ‘The Young Engineer’ has been running for 10 years and piques the interest of kids when they are 5-6 years old.”

Specifically on the subject of attracting female talent, Trainer said: “Look around the WPC, majority of the panel discussions and deliberations have mostly male speakers. The lack of diversity is visible. Some women have risen through the industry ranks and have become role models, and are indeed here, but there are not that many.”

Positive discrimination is needed, she added, including perhaps an introduction of the Norwegian model of mandatory quotas for women to be on corporate boards and in positions of authority.

iStock

Time is running out, and the industry needs to act fast, according Aleek Datta, Managing Director at consultancy Accenture.

“In 2011, around $590bn (£455bn) was spent on petrotechnical workforce development, which rose to a commendable $760bn in 2014. However, oil price slump hit and spending on talent fell to $570bn in 2015, and has been in decline ever since.

“If we assume oil demand will increase, yet spending on talent continues at its current level, the global industry will have 30% deficit of petrotechnical professionals as early as 2020.

“The oil and gas industry is losing the fight for top millennial talent, as young professionals prefer other industries, like the technology industry. Only 2% of US graduates, according our research, consider oil and gas as a primary career choice.”

To some it might seem counterintuitive to invest in attracting and training young professionals and wooing more women to the industry when the oil price is down, but the risk of not doing so could be even more dire.

 

Get ready for a new economic order by 2030 / 2050

Get ready for a new economic order by 2030 / 2050

As put by Bloomberg in an article by Jeanna Smialek dated April 10, 2015 where she said: ” Get ready for a new economic order by 2030 / 2050. In the world 15 years from now, the U.S. will be far less dominant, several emerging markets will catapult into prominence, and some of the largest European economies will be slipping behind.”

A new economic order by 2030 / 2050 ?

Last week an article on the same subject and written by Lianna Brinded, Markets Editor, Business Insider and published in collaboration with Business Insider on Thursday 9 February 2017 by the WEF goes like below.

 

A prediction: the world’s most powerful economies in 2030

PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), one of the world’s largest professional-services firms, just released its predictions for the most powerful economies in the world by 2030.

The report, titled “The long view: how will the global economic order change by 2050?” ranked 32 countries by their projected global gross domestic product by purchasing power parity (PPP).

PPP is used by macroeconomists to determine the economic productivity and standards of living among countries across a certain time period.

While PwC’s findings show some of the same countries right near the top of the list in 13 years, they also have numerous economies slipping or rising massively by 2030 [ . . . ]

The PwC Report Key findings

This report sets out our latest long-term global growth projections to 2050 for 32 of the largest economies in the world, accounting for around 85% of world GDP.

Key results of our analysis (as summarised also in the accompanying video) include:

  • The world economy could more than double in size by 2050, far outstripping population growth, due to continued technology-driven productivity improvements
  • Emerging markets (E7) could grow around twice as fast as advanced economies (G7) on average
  • As a result, six of the seven largest economies in the world are projected to be emerging economies in 2050 led by China (1st), India (2nd) and Indonesia (4th)
  • The US could be down to third place in the global GDP rankings while the EU27’s share of world GDP could fall below 10% by 2050
  • UK could be down to 10th place by 2050, France out of the top 10 and Italy out of the top 20 as they are overtaken by faster growing emerging economies like Mexico, Turkey and Vietnam respectively
  • But emerging economies need to enhance their institutions and their infrastructure significantly if they are to realise their long-term growth potential.

Explore the World in 2050

View the infographics below for highlights of our GDP projections and explore the results further using our interactive data tool.

Further details are provided in our summary reportfull report and slide pack.

 

Tweet this: PwC #World2050 report projects China and India to be the two largest economies in the world by 2050

Key projections

 

Challenges for policymakers

Our analysis also identifies a number of key challenges for policy-makers, including:

  • Avoid a slide back into protectionism, which history suggests would be bad for global growth in the long run
  • Ensuring that the potential benefits of globalisation are shared more equally across society
  • Developing new green technologies to ensure that long-term global growth is environmentally sustainable

Please download our full report for more in-depth analysis of these policy issues.

Opportunities for business – winning in emerging markets

Our report, which can be downloaded in full below, also considers the opportunities for business:

  • As emerging markets mature, they will become less attractive as low cost manufacturing bases but more attractive as consumer and business-to-business (B2B) markets
  • But international companies need strategies that are flexible enough to adapt to local customer preferences and rapidly evolving local market dynamics
  • Since emerging markets can be volatile, international investors also need to be patient enough to ride out the short-term economic and political cycles in these countries

Please also take a look at the research of our Growth Markets Centre for detailed examples of how companies can succeed in emerging markets.

 

Real Leaders need to make Globalization work for all

Real Leaders need to make Globalization work for all

As we head into 2017, and further to our previous contribution Leadership Priorities in Year 2017 we would like to give this opportunity to our readers to go through this article written by Rawan Al-Butairi, Financial analyst of Saudi Aramco and published on Monday 2 January 2017 on the WEF website.  The author questions leaderships attributes but within the specific Arab context of the MENA countries.  Experience tells us that practitioners love to see what is happening in their domain and for one reason or another do generalise it to all by asserting that Real leaders need to make globalization work for all .  

The above image is of REUTERS/Victor Ruiz Garcia

 

What does leadership really mean? Two things

 

 

 

A young person could almost be forgiven for feeling despair and hopelessness today. Everywhere they look, there is escalating inequality and a lack of opportunity.

In certain regions and countries, the problem is more acute; from hyperinflation and a collapsed economy in Venezuela to an Arab Spring in Egypt which toppled a government but ultimately has yet to improve the lives of ordinary Egyptians. In fact, with a recently de-pegged currency and an IMF bailout, it will ostensibly get much worse there before it starts to get better.

At the time, many pundits argued that the 2011 Arab Spring was about people in the region demanding greater democracy and liberal freedom. However, I think this misses the heart of the problem. At that time, Egypt was still suffering from the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, with important industries such as tourism still far from recovery. Moreover, large increases in food and raw material prices caused a huge trade imbalance (Egypt- as well as Venezuala – is a significant net importer of food).

With the rising cost of food, an unsustainable trade imbalance leading to unaffordable domestic subsidy programs, an overly concentrated economic model susceptible to crippling exogenous shocks, and a growing population to “feed”, the situation mirrored the predictable fall of a neatly stacked set of domino chips. These countries simply ran out of room and ran out of time to modernize their economies to provide opportunities for their growing young population.

Leaders fell back on the status quo, too afraid, too self-interested, or too corrupt to make the difficult trade-off decisions to fix the numerous structural imbalances. These were tragic and epic failures.

In this context, what does responsible leadership mean? While it is tempting to provide the never incorrect “it depends” answer, I believe there are two universal and key themes.

First, globalization, like capitalism, must be effectively managed to be more inclusive. Globalization leads to a bigger overall pie, but responsible leaders must find ways to distribute that pie to more people. Conversely, protectionism and populism to me is just Neo-Luddism, a misguided and ultimately futile tilting against windmills which will only lead to a smaller pie for everyone.

With technological advancement and the oft-touted “knowledge economy” naturally favoring a small group of the highly skilled, government and the private sector can and must do more to even the playing field, including potentially higher minimum wage laws or progressive taxation to fund more targeted and effective social programs. These programs must be financially sustainable, free of corruption, and efficiently enacted.

At a community level, responsible leadership must encourage more volunteerism and gifting – of not just money, but time, knowledge, and mentoring those with less opportunity – and these individuals and institutions must personally lead by example. The leaders and workers of tomorrow need to understand the impact of globalization, both its benefits and its implications, so that workers are motivated to develop competitive skills in an increasingly global and interconnected economy. Inevitably, there will be groups who will be marginalized and unable or unwilling to adapt to this future, and the social programs will need to be creatively designed to reach and help these people.

Second, responsible leaders must have deep social capital, particularly “bridging social capital”. According to Robert Putnam, a political scientist and Harvard Kennedy School of Government professor, bridging social capital builds key networks between different social groups. It allows people from different socio-economic backgrounds, genders, ethnicities and cultures to share and exchange ideas and build consensus among groups with diverse interests.

Responsible leaders must develop empathy and solidarity with all people they serve, so that they will forge collective benefits that enlarge the pie for everyone. Again, volunteerism and community engagement are crucial. Unfortunately, with social media and an overabundance of choice, people are easily conditioned to only seek out interactions with people they “like” or to “friend” people of similar views or backgrounds. This is the exact opposite of the desired outcome, and can lead to irresponsible leaders with low social capital, and low empathy, who see the world as a fixed pie that must be divided up with the largest slice going to themselves and people like them. The future of the world, particularly the one that the young will inherit, must be defined by what we share, not our superficial differences.

So what, again, is a responsible leader?

In summary, a responsible leader to me is person who has abundant social capital, an intrinsic desire to maximize the economic pie to create opportunities for everyone, someone who is able to effectively manage globalization, and looks to build bridges instead of walls. He or she will enable hope to once again flourish within the sea of hopelessness, and turn despair into optimism.

About this article: Rawan Al-Butairi is a World Economic Forum Global Shaper. Her article is one of the short-listed entries in the 2016 Global Shaper essay competition on the theme of responsive and responsible leadership.

 

Global Gender Gap Report

Global Gender Gap Report

As of the Wikipedia,  the Global Gender Gap Report was first published in 2006 by the World Economic Forum.  Its Gap Index is designed to measure gender equality status of 144 countries as based on economic participation and opportunity, education attainment, health and survival and political participation.  This year’s edition saw the MENA region close its overall gender gap by more than 60% but it continued unsurprisingly to rank last globally in the overall index.

The best performers in the region however were Qatar at 119th and Algeria at 120th, the UAE coming close behind at 124th and Saudi Arabia as expected at the rear of the line at 141st .  According to several GCC’s online media, the Gulf economies were the worst performing in the high income group in this year’s index.  Gulf Business, for instance, reviewed the WEF report’s proposed ranking of these countries and concluded that several Gulf nations improved their gender equality in this year’s rankings, but still remained in the bottom half of the table. 

Globally, the “Top Ten” consist as expected of the Scandinavian countries leading the pack together with few exceptions such as Rwanda, Ireland, the Philippines, Slovenia and New Zealand.  We excerpted few paragraphs and an interactive world map of the report and reproduced here for purposes of mouth-watering our readers to go the original WEF site and make it into a good weekend read of the whole report. 

 

Talent and technology together will determine how the Fourth Industrial Revolution can be harnessed to deliver sustainable economic growth and innumerable benefits to society. Yet if half of the world’s talent is not integrated—as both beneficiary and shaper—into the transformations underway, we will compromise innovation and risk a rise in inequality. This urgency is at the core of a fresh call to action to accelerate progress towards gender equality, adding to the well-established economic case for gender equality. Moreover, there is a fundamental moral case for empowering women: women represent one half of the global population and it is self-evident that they must have equal access to health, education, earning power and political representation.

Through the Global Gender Gap Report, the World Economic Forum quantifies the magnitude of gender-based disparities and tracks their progress over time. While no single measure can capture the complete situation, the Global Gender Gap Index presented in this Report seeks to measure one important aspect of gender equality—the relative gaps between women and men across four key areas: health, education, economy and politics. The Index was developed in part to address the need for a consistent and comprehensive measure for gender equality that can track a country’s progress over time. More than a decade of data has revealed that progress is still too slow for realizing the full potential of one half of humanity within our lifetimes.

The Index does not seek to provide a comprehensive set of data and a clear method for tracking gaps on critical indicators so that countries may set priorities within their own economic, political and cultural contexts. It points to potential role models by revealing those countries that—within their region or income group—are leaders in distributing resources more equitably between women and men, regardless of the overall level of available resources.

A free learning App for MENA’s youth

A free learning App for MENA’s youth

Change does not start through revolutions in streets. It starts in people’s minds . . .

Khadija Hamouchi, a social entrepreneur, is founder of SEJAAL, an initiative that is developing a free learning App for MENA’s youth. She has received six international awards, including Stanford Business and Innovation Fellow, Morocco’s African Entrepreneurship Award and San Francisco’s Parisoma Accelerator Programme.

In a piece for the TheArabWeekly of October 2nd, 2016, Khadija describes her views on education in the Middle East and North Africa region (MENA) region.  For her, the region needs its “education empire” in its own right.

Khadija continues: “It also needs its social network and its Mark Zuckerberg. The MENA region needs to exercise as much influence as it does receive itself. It needs to start leading again, too. Just like what we used to do through innovation, knowledge development and cultural deployment centuries ago. I like to think it was not that long ago.”

Instead of waiting for some miracle to happen, I am building a free web-based application, a learning content sharing service for young people in the region. I allow myself to dream big. I aspire to go worldwide — breaching borders and designing the future of learning engagement. This is not pretention, it is ambition.

I believe learning for all transforms societies systemically. I believe everyone deserves a chance to learn. I believe in a quality education, accessible to all. I believe individual engagement in learning creates social cohesion. I believe it can and must be done. It must be achieved if our societies are to thrive through innovation, economic redistribution and social cohe­sion.

We owe it to our young people. The very ones who found themselves with invaluable talent and capabilities but without even a window of opportunity, let alone a door. And we also owe it to the ones who found themselves contemplating their futures without hope.

How do we get this new paradigm off the ground?

Change does not start through revolutions in the streets. It starts in people’s minds. Modernity does not come about by welcom­ing fast-food chains into a country. It happens by embracing new habits of thoughts. Advance­ment does not happen by invest­ing in fancy buildings. It is reaped through nurturing the talent and potential.

We need to leave a certain number of thinking patterns, not people, behind. We should accept the idea of failure, which is only but a symptom of success. Pure perfection does not exist. Perfec­tion is a state of moving forward constantly. We need to let go of autocratic selfishness, which has silently but dangerously killed our people. We need to communi­cate openly and throw the sometimes needless culture of secrecy away.

Today MENA is being trans­formed through entrepreneur­ship. On that note, I believe any venture in the region should look beyond solving people problems and to disrupt the status quo. Ventures should empower people through free choices as well as exposure to ideas, realities and landscapes.

It is this philosophy that underpins SEJAAL, an app that supports people aged 18-30 to share learning content with their followers from existing platforms that we select for relevance and quality. Our members will have the ability to post infographics, videos, articles, e-learning courses, podcasts and other multimedia content on SEJAAL. They will have the ability to save that learning content on personal­ised boards as well as select themes that interest them because we believe in empower­ing people.

They will be able to share their thoughts and ask questions of the wider community of learners. That is how social learning takes place. Our editorial line will curate content on personal and professional development as well as the humanities, to regenerate societies with new energy and aspiration. We are building a prototype to submit to students in the region so they can create human-centred design solutions for and by people. We expect to have a beta version by June 2017.

I find it important to emphasise that modernity does not mean rejecting our culinary, musical, historical, folkloric or clothing traditions. It means making the decisions that serve the whole community. This can happen by understanding the strengths of respective national history as well as crafting an inclusive vision that covers ethnic differences, languages and faith.

The good news in all of this: We do not necessarily need money. We need attitude, mindset and will. These are free. They do not cost anything. Their currency is love for the community.”