FT - Oliver Wyman Strategic Forum Workforce of the Future: Transitioning to the New Reality in the GCC

Location: Dubai, UAE Date: Oct 3, 2018


Learn more about The Oliver Wyman Forum here...


As the rapid innovation in multiple sectors continues unabated, organisations globally and within the region are beginning to realise the impact this has on long-term strategies and business models. Technologies such as Artificial intelligence (AI), big data and machine learning are becoming an inseparable part of our daily lives, and their impact is reaching almost every segment of the economic wheel. Rather than being perceived as a threat to jobs, these advances could be tamed in a way to optimise human skills and labour efforts. The biggest challenge goes beyond the technology: it is about change management and the potential confusion over how AI and other innovations are applied.

The pace of evolution of automation technologies – such as AI - within the GCC is affected by two major factors. First, the relative young demographics of most countries in the region and the access to expat labour at low wage rates. These might hinder the adoption of tech advances when compared to other countries with an aging population, where embracing innovation is a necessity to address workforce shortages. Second, sustainable growth in a new age of automation is not possible if adequate investments, reforms and planning are not made to empower the workforce.

Government and business must together embrace the new reality of this digital environment, to ensure that workers are not left behind, and have the right skills and tools to prepare them for the future workplace. Failing to do so will lead to a widening skills gap which will have negative repercussions on the economy and labour market, GCC nationalisation programmes, and inequality and productivity levels. The WEF’s Future of Jobs analysis found that, compared to 2015,  21 per cent of core skills required across all occupations will be totally different by 2020 in the GCC, which poses high risks to current jobs, employees, and employers alike.The key challenge is how does one define what the workforce of the future in the region will look like, and require, to thrive?

The Financial Times and Oliver Wyman will bring together senior executives from a wide range of industries, public sector agencies and government to explore this question and share best practice insights on the strategies and actions being taken to enable and prepare for the Workforce of the Future.  Chaired and moderated by Helen Barrett, FT Work and Careers Editor, this half-day, invitation-only event will feature in-depth interviews, case studies and interactive panel discussions in a format that encourages audience participation and a lively interchange of ideas. The forum will be held under the Chatham House rule.

Highlight video

Financial Times/Oliver Wyman Strategic Forum 2018 - Highlights



Breakfast and Registration


Chair’s Opening Remarks

Helen Barrett, Work and Careers Editor, Financial Times


Welcome Address

Pedro Oliveira, Geo Head (MEA), Oliver Wyman 


Keynote Session: Preparing the workforce for the digital economy

What are the drivers of workforce change as Gulf countries position themselves as innovation hubs? How can government and business collaborate effectively to solve the skills gap crisis in GCC countries? And what are the key learnings from different GCC country approaches?

How does one balance the constraints of expat / labour imports and localisation initiatives with the skill requirements of high tech industries coming into the region?


Panel Discussion: Can human and machine complement one another?

How are organisations combining technology and people to maximise productivity, whilst meeting social and nationalisation of work programme commitments?

Can we replace the manual labour abundance with automation in the near future, and what impact will that have on the region’s economy?

Which industries are most under pressure in the short and long-term and who must bear the burden for retraining and upskilling the workforce?

How can the success of training and upskilling efforts be measured? Who measures this?

How does one prepare the labour market for roles that do not exist yet?

Moderator: Helen Barrett, Work and Careers Editor, Financial Times
Jay Doherty, Mercer Partner and Co-Founder, Workforce Sciences Institute


Networking Break


Talent and Skills Case Studies: The new nature of work

1. How technological advances are redefining employee roles within the health care industry
Michael Schelper, Chief Operations Officer and General Manager, UAE and Kuwait, Cerner

2. How do you manage multiple and freelance talent pools and a virtual workforce in a digitalised working environment?
Rania Rostom, Chief Communications and Innovation Officer, GE MENA & Turkey and Chief Communications Officer, GE Global

3. Aligning workforce planning into broader innovation strategies
Sandeep Chouhan, Group Head of Operations and Technology, Mashreq Bank

4. How do you implement a culture of lifelong learning within the business?


Q&A with audience


Closing Summation



Registration Link