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The virus triggers new challenges & opportunities for businesses

COVID-19 has brought new opportunities and challenges for the governments and markets to navigate within the coming quarters. The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) remain resilient with solid macroeconomic fundamentals amid opportunities in various industries to cash upon. UAE has positioned itself globally as a tourist hub, modern infrastructure and landscape, tech-savvy government and people, transparency with good governance.

Highlighting the nuances of the white-collar outsourcing industry before and after the COVID-19 pandemic, Tiago Costa, Dulsco’s Chief Operating Officer – Outsourcing & Permanent Placement, told Gulf Today that all industries took a hit during 2020, not just the outsourcing industry. Everything from hospitality and retail to aviation were affected in some way or other by the pandemic.

“Of course, Dulsco was no exception, as we have a very large workforce in the airline and hospitality industries, he added.

“Outsourcing companies in the region, and the world in fact, did take a hit, however, not to the same extent as many other industries.” “The reason for this is that as a business, it is one of our focuses to help clients work on their scalability. When COVID hit, this was a priority for many of our clients, and so there was a demand for our services.”

“What we’re witnessing now, in our industry, in particular, is that as confidence increases and life begins to return to some normality, there is a huge increase in requests from our clients.”

 “Lots of projects that were on standby are now being pushed forward, and people are required to return from overseas in order to hit staffing quotas, and this allows companies such as Dulsco to move forward.

Answering to a question about trends in 2021 and beyond in the outsourcing industry, Tiago discloses that in his personal opinion, a lot of the trends that we are seeing now were going to happen regardless of COVID. “Particularly the trend of digitalisation and automation – COVID has simply acted as a catalyst. New jobs will be created, and some may cease to exist, not because of COVID, but because of the amazing possibilities that technology allows us.”

 “It’s an amazing time to be alive and witness this, because for the first time in history, what we can imagine we can also actually put into practice through technology,” he added.

“E-commerce, for example, is a trending focus at the moment. However, it’s been around a long time and again, COVID has simply acted as a catalyst to create awareness for the technology available to us now.”

“I think one of the most important skills going forward is the ability to multi-task, and companies must invest in upskilling their employees, as the future of digitisation relies on multi-taskers who can perform a number of different skills.”

“One such skill is coding, which I believe is extremely desirable for employers. Hiring multi- taskers will allow employers to decrease their costs and also give younger candidates more of an edge going forward.

He stated that there have been two notable changes in the work environment following the pandemic.

 “The first is the increased level of trust that managers must now place in their employees. Prior to the pandemic, many employers were of the opinion that “presence means productivity”, which of course is not true. “When the whole world shifted to remote working and meetings were being held virtually over Zoom, Teams, etc, managers had to trust that employees were doing their work and maintaining productivity from home. Going forward, we will see much more flexibility in regards to remote and flexible working across all industries, and maintaining that healthy work-life balance.

“Secondly, I think that another big change is the positivity within our cultural environment. Now, instead of just asking “how are you?”, we are asking questions like “how are you feeling? How are you coping? How is your family?” And we are paying closer attention to the responses. There is much more empathy amongst employers and colleagues, which is an extremely positive shift.”

“Dulsco’s people solutions operations are run as a standard outsourcing model, covering everything from A-Z.”

“We take care of every aspect of hiring for our clients from the very start of the outsourcing process until the very end – managing banking, loans, visa processes and renewals, payrolls, end of service benefits, this is all in our realm of scope.

“As I mentioned before, the mindset of outsourcing being a cost saving exercise has evolved.”

“Now, outsourcing is not just a cost-saving exercise, but also an opportunity for companies to focus on their core business. Outsourcing agencies will take away all of the stress of hiring, applying for visas, initiating end of service packages, etc. This is our bread and butter, so whilst we focus on that, businesses can focus on their bread and butter,” he concluded.

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