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Saudi economy can be strengthened by boosting competitiveness
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 11 - 12 - 2015

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THE Kingdom's organizations need to strengthen their talent investment in order to enhance their business competitiveness and support economic growth, SAP announced with the launch of a new report.
In the Kingdom, 60 percent of business leaders plan to increase investment, the highest level in the region, which builds on the success of the Kingdom being the best sales market in the Middle East in 2014, with more than 70 percent of respondents seeing double-digit revenue growth, according to the "MENAT Business Outlook Survey 2015" by The Economist Corporate Network.
However, the lack of talent and the cost of developing talent is the top reason that Saudi organizations gave for their investment plans to stall – cited by one in five, or 20 percent, of executives.
It is understood among Kingdom-watchers that while the Kingdom hosts one of the MENAT region's highest business potentials, the talent challenge is holding back international investment and causing high staff turnover. Public and private sectors partnering on business-friendly solutions could help multinational corporations to avoid reducing headcounts or even relocating to more business-friendly countries.
Demonstrating the impact of digital transformation on the Kingdom's business sector and talent search, 60 percent of MENAT respondents agreed that technology penetration is a positive force for business growth. However, only one-third of MENAT organizations have been adopting consumer-driven technologies such as mobility, social media, cloud, big data, and Internet of Things.
"With the talent search heating up across the region, Saudi organizations have the potential to use the country's robust technology infrastructure to leapfrog the world in terms of recruiting talent, training on the next generation of skills, and enhancing competitiveness. But for businesses to succeed in the Digital Economy, digital strategies need buy-in from the entire C-suite," said Ahmed Al Faifi, Managing Director, SAP Saudi Arabia.
"Further supporting the next generation of Saudi workers, SAP has conducted more than 350,000 student-training days in the Kingdom over the last two years. This initiative provide students with hands-on real-world experience in the workforce, paving their way to productive careers," added Al Faifi. In MENAT, half of executives reported improving business prospects, with multinational companies expecting median revenues to double to from 5 percent in 2014 to 10 percent in 2019, the report said.
Elsewhere in the region, Turkey and the UAE have posted the strongest revenue growth year-on-year, with ICT heavy industry, and finance as the key sectors. Kuwait, Egypt, and Iran also have high potential, the report noted.
SAP's Training and Development Institute continues to support the Kingdom's workforce of the future, creating an "in-country value" of USD 24 million in knowledge and skills development since 2012. "In-country" value is the total value a company has created for business development, human capability, and economic productivity.

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