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Middle East salary survey reveals major challenges to close IT skills gap

Organisations in the Middle East are not offering IT staff enough training and don’t employ enough women in IT

Organisations in the Middle East could fall behind their counterparts in other regions if they don’t increase investment in IT training and recruit more women, according to the Computer Weekly Salary Survey 2017. They also face challenges in retaining IT staff, who are in high demand.

The survey of 650 IT professionals in the Middle East highlighted a lack of employer-provided training as a problem for staff. More than 63% of respondents said they did not think they received enough training from their employers and almost three-quarters (73%) said a lack of training was hindering their career progression.

But IT training is not the only employment shortfall in the region. Middle East organisations are also missing out on the potential to recruit more women.

For example, in Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, women make up only about 27% of the workforce, whereas the global average is just under 52%, according to the World Bank.

The Computer Weekly survey found low levels of women working in IT in the region. Just under 30% of respondents said there were no women in their IT department, and 29% said less than 10% of their IT staff were women. Only 9% said more than 40% of their organisation’s IT staff were women.

While the Middle East faces clear challenges in ensuring it has workers with the right skills, organisations in the region also face challenges in retaining staff with sought-after skills. The Computer Weekly survey showed that a quarter (24.9%) of IT professionals in the Middle East are actively seeking a new role with another company and 40% are open to new opportunities, although not actively looking.

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Just over 37% of Middle East respondents said they would like to move to a bigger company in the next three to five years, while 36% said they would like to climb the hierarchy at their current employer.

Employers in the Middle East also need to ensure their salary packages are reviewed to remain competitive. The survey showed that 35% of IT staff had received no pay increase in the past year and a similar proportion did not expect a rise this year. However, 36% of respondents had received a pay rise last year and just over 50% expected one next year.

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