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DELOITTE: MIDDLE EAST HEADING TOWARDS GREATER DIGITIZATION OF GOVERNMENTS SERVICES

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DELOITTE: MIDDLE EAST HEADING TOWARDS GREATER DIGITIZATION OF GOVERNMENTS SERVICES

As global organizations are digitizing faster and moving online and mobile to conduct business, the Middle East is catching up with the rest of world in terms of data growth and digitization, according to Deloitte’s latest report “Are you a date driven organization?

“There are several initiatives underway in the Middle East towards greater digitization of the Government Services.  For example, as a part of the preparation for Expo 2020, the UAE government is working towards delivering world-class smart services and infrastructure to its citizens” said Rajeev Lalwani, consulting partner and technology leader at Deloitte in the Middle East. “The UAE Smart Government is another initiative that will drive digitization of all essential services for its citizens and residents and will result in tremendous data growth.

“Organizations that harness data to gain insights of their customers will position themselves for better success in the long haul. And while the market is going through a hype cycle particularly around the big data and internet of things it is critical to note that a strong data foundation is required to handle the future data growth” he added.

According to the Deloitte report, the data foundation of any organization is laid out by enabling many data management functions as outlined below:

  • Data governance: it is a discipline originating from enterprise information management. A typical data governance framework will have four guiding principles including: viewing data as a strategic asset, linking to strategic initiatives, enabling a comprehensive change management program, and being driven by business value.
  • Data quality: it is typically measured in terms of accuracy, consistency, relevance, integrity, accessibility and serviceability. A typical data quality framework will address the data quality issues of an organization from three angles: people, process, and technology.
  • Data architecture: it is an important part of information management as it allows data integration across the enterprise. Laying the foundation for data architecture enables data modeling, master data management and metadata management.

“Establishing data-management capabilities requires significant investment in financial, organizational and human resources, and the benefits will be realized over a longer term as opposed to immediate results,” concluded Lalwani. “Companies that invest proportionally to manage data as a strategic asset will stand a greater chance of success in today’s competitive global economy.”

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Spain’s jobless hit four million for first time in five years as pandemic curbs bite

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Spain's jobless hit four million for first time in five years as pandemic curbs bite 1

By Nathan Allen and Belén Carreño

MADRID (Reuters) – The number of jobless people in Spain rose above 4 million for the first time in five years in February, official data showed on Tuesday, as COVID-19 restrictions ravage the ailing economy.

Since the onset of the pandemic, Spain has lost more than 400,000 jobs, around two-thirds of them in the hospitality sector, which has struggled with limits on opening hours and capacity as well as an 80% slump in international tourism.

Jobless claims rose by 1.12% from a month earlier, or by 44,436 people to 4,008,789, Labour Ministry data showed, the fifth consecutive monthly increase in unemployment.

That number was 23.5% higher than in February 2020, the last month before the pandemic took hold in Spain.

“The rise in unemployment, caused by the third wave, is bad news, reflecting the structural flaws of the labour market that are accentuated by the pandemic,” Labour Minister Yolanda Diaz tweeted.

Restrictions vary sharply from region to region in Spain, with some shutting down all hospitality businesses, though Madrid has taken a particularly relaxed approach and kept bars and restaurants open.

A total of 30,211 positions were lost over the month, seasonally adjusted data from the Social Security Ministry showed. It was the first month more positions were closed than created since Spain emerged from its strict first-wave lockdown in May.

Still, the number of people supported by Spain’s ERTE furlough scheme across Spain fell by nearly 29,000 to 899,383 in February.

“These figures have remained more or less stable since September, indicating that the second and third waves of the pandemic have had a much smaller effect than the first in this regard,” the ministry said in a statement.

Hotels, bars and restaurants and air travel are the sectors with the highest proportion of furloughed workers, it added.

Tourism dependent regions like the Canary and Balearic Islands have been particularly hard hit, with the workforce contracting by more than 6% since last February in both archipelagos.

The last time the number of jobless in Spain hit 4 million was in April 2016.

(Reporting by Anita Kobylinska, Nathan Allen and Belén Carreño, Editing by Inti Landauro, Kirsten Donovan and Philippa Fletcher)

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Pandemic ‘shecession’ reverses women’s workplace gains

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Pandemic 'shecession' reverses women's workplace gains 2

By Anuradha Nagaraj

(Thomson Reuters Foundation) – The coronavirus pandemic reversed women’s workplace gains in many of the world’s wealthiest countries as the burden of childcare rose and female-dominated sectors shed jobs, according to research released on Tuesday.

Women were more likely than men to lose their jobs in 17 of the 24 rich countries where unemployment rose last year, according to the latest annual PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Women in Work Index.

Jobs in female-dominated sectors like marketing and communications were more likely to be lost than roles in finance, which are more likely to be held by men, said the report, calling the slowdown a “shecession”.

Meanwhile, women were spending on average 7.7 more hours a week than men on unpaid childcare, a “second shift” that is nearly the equivalent of a full-time job and risks forcing some out of paid work altogether, it found.

“Although jobs will return when economies bounce back, they will not necessarily be the same jobs,” said Larice Stielow, senior economist at PwC.

“If we don’t have policies in place to directly address the unequal burden of care, and to enable more women to enter jobs in growing sectors of the economy, women will return to fewer hours, lower-skilled, and lower paid jobs.”

The report, which looked at 33 countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) club of rich nations, said progress towards gender equality at work would not begin to recover until 2022.

Even then, the pace of progress would need to double if rich countries were to make up the losses by 2030, it said, calling on governments and businesses to improve access to growth sectors such as artificial intelligence and renewable energy.

Laura Hinton, chief people officer at PwC, said it was “paramount that gender pay gap reporting is prioritised, with targeted action plans put in place as businesses focus on building back better and fairer”.

Britain has required employers with more than 250 staff to submit gender pay gap figures every year since 2017 in a bid to reduce pay disparities, but last year it suspended the requirement due to the coronavirus pandemic.

(Reporting by Anuradha Nagaraj @AnuraNagaraj; Editing by Claire Cozens. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers the lives of people around the world who struggle to live freely or fairly. Visit http://news.trust.org)

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German January exports to UK fell 30% year-on-year as Brexit hit – Stats Office

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German January exports to UK fell 30% year-on-year as Brexit hit - Stats Office 3

BERLIN (Reuters) – German exports to the United Kingdom fell by 30% year-on-year in January “due to Brexit effects”, preliminary trade figures released by the Federal Statistics Office on Tuesday showed.

In 2020, German exports to the UK fell by 15.5% compared to 2019, recording the biggest year-on-year decline since the financial and economic crisis in 2009, when they fell by 17.0%, the Office said.

“Since 2016 – the year of the Brexit referendum – German exports to the UK have steadily declined,” the Office said in a statement.

In 2015 German exports to the UK amounted to 89.0 billion euros. In 2020, German they totalled 66.9 billion euros.

Imports to Germany from the UK totalled 34.7 billion euros in 2020, down 9.6 % compared to 2019.

(Reporting by Paul Carrel; Editing by Madeline Chambers)

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