Cloud and Microsoft ecosystem to create 63,400 jobs in Saudi Arabia

Reuters Images/Dado Ruvic
Reuters Images/Dado Ruvic
Reuters Images/Dado Ruvic
IDC predicts spending on public cloud services in Saudi Arabia will almost quadruple over the next 5 years

RIYADH — Microsoft’s technology ecosystem and the growing popularity of cloud services will create more than 63,400 jobs in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia by the end of 2022, according to new research by the International Data Corporation (IDC). The study also covers findings from other Middle Eastern markets such as UAE, Bahrain and Turkey.

IDC’s white paper analyses the impact of ICT, cloud services, and the Microsoft ecosystem on Saudi Arabia economy between 2017 and 2022, covering a decade of IDC regional findings. The research shows that implementation of nationwide initiatives such as Saudi Vision 2030 and the efforts of the Saudi Communications and Information Technology Commission to organize the cloud services. – and other initiatives focused on banking, healthcare, transportation and education – has led to a rise in IT spending and employment.

IDC predicts spending on public cloud services in Saudi Arabia will almost quadruple over the next five years, from SR427.68 million in 2017 to SR1.57 billion in 2022. Between the end of 2017 and the end of 2022, adoption of cloud services will create nearly 55,000 new jobs (net) and the Microsoft technology ecosystem will add 8,400 jobs (net) for a total of 63,400 in net job creation. The Microsoft ecosystem – the companies that sell, service, deploy, or otherwise work with Microsoft products – supported more than 71,250 workers in 2017. The ecosystem itself is a prolific generator of downstream revenues, accounting for SR 11.20 for every SR1 that Microsoft produces, according to IDC estimates.

IDC analysts also investigated the possible knock-on effects of cloud adoption. The use of public cloud services, combined with investments in private and hybrid cloud solutions, will “enable organizations in Saudi Arabia to innovate and achieve their [digital] transformation goals,” the White Paper posited. The benefits emanating from this digital transformation trend are set to generate around SAR 26.04 billion in net new revenues over the next five years.

“Digital transformation has the power to engage customers and citizens, empower employees, optimize operations and reinvent products and services,” said Dr. Mamdouh Najjar, national technology officer at Microsoft Arabia. “IDC’s report clearly shows that private and public organizations have realized these benefits, and are directly or indirectly creating jobs as they invest in their futures. Microsoft is proud of its record of job creation in Saudi Arabia, the wider GCC and beyond. Acceleration of economic growth and innovation and the downstream revenue that comes from the Microsoft ecosystem are natural outcomes from our efforts to help every individual and organization on the planet to achieve more.”

In its whitepaper, IDC also examined wider ICT spending in Saudi Arabia, and predicted it would reach SAR 43.97 billion in 2022, and that IT employment in the country will surpass 270,000 by that time.

“As cloud continues to gain momentum in the region, countries will be able to accelerate their digital transformation and economic diversification agendas.” Said Megha Kumar, Research Director - Software & Cloud, IDC Middle East, Turkey and Africa. “Cloud will enable innovative projects that revolve around artificial intelligence (AI), enterprise mobility, Internet of Things (IoT), and blockchain. It will also create demand for new skill types and expertise in the market. We will begin to see a shift in the job types that will be needed by organizations, with new roles coming in to play. These will range from AI and blockchain architects and data scientists to AI systems trainers.”

Microsoft also takes very seriously its role in upskilling and reskilling the existing workforce to support an emerging series of jobs and shifts in responsibilities resulting from the increased use of cloud services. According to the World Economic Forum’s “Future of Jobs” report, published in January this year, two in three children will end up working in jobs that do not exist yet. Microsoft is active in creating awareness of this with our education partners around the world. The company also runs several professional programs that address the need for upskilling and reskilling to plug knowledge gaps in the emerging cloud services segment, including Microsoft Cloud Administration, Azure Essentials and the AI Professional Certification. Cloud Society is mass readiness program for IT Professionals, Developers and Data Professionals to learn Cloud technologies, best practices and advance their careers. There are also face-to-face readiness opportunities such as Gulf Datacenter Community meetups. — SG

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