MENA’s Big Tech Boom: Combatting the Skills Shortage – Recap

On Dec 6, Tarabut Gateway hosted and moderated a webinar titled MENA’s Big Tech Boom: Combatting the skills shortage. With the aim of addressing the skills gap crisis in MENA’s tech space.

If you missed it, watch the entire webinar below.

Here are some of the main takeaways and topics discussed in the Webinar event.

Fintech Talent vs Tech Talent 6:25

 “Fintech” can be an intimidating term. It is an ongoing debate about whether tech skills are the same skills needed for Fintech. The majority of people hear “fintech talent” and do not correlate it with tech talent. When in reality they are relatively interchangeable terms. However, for Fintech having a general understanding of the financial landscape may be seen as the only differentiating factor. This essentially is not a limiting aspect, as knowledge of the financial landscape can always be developed.

Challenges that hinder growth 10:30

There is not much of a shortage Why is that? There is a lack of employee incentives in the region in comparison to Silicon Valley for example. Another reason for shortages is the lack of opportunities. As the sector is still young, hiring junior roles is more common. 53% of companies are looking for Junior Executives, compared to just 30% who are looking for Executives. Leading a majority of our mid-senior level engineers to look at international opportunities, straying away from the region.

Growing roles in the field 38:10

The growing roles are spread across all spectrums in fintech, not just within engineering roles. There’s a need for roles ranging from customer experience agents to operations associates, all of which can be considered fintech talent. As IT spending in MENA has reached 163 billion during 2020, businesses in MENA are set to increase their workforce across all segments, in order to keep up with the ever-growing tech boom.

Difference between hiring for a startup vs big corporation 41:02

 When you’re at the early stage of a startup, you need to be able to hire people who are capable of wearing multiple different hats. Certain skills like flexibility and open-mindedness are the key differentiating traits that HR may look for. A start-up understands that they need a team full of dedicated and passionate people. Essentially when hiring for a startup there is a much deeper evaluation of how well the person fits into the company’s culture. As there needs to be a strong belief in the vision of the company in order to achieve future goals.


Lack of structured mentorship 48:50

 There are two misconceptions when it comes to the term Mentorship. Firstly, when you think “mentor” you ultimately think it is a one-way beneficial relationship. With someone further down their career sharing their experiences and knowledge. However, a mentorship relationship is truly a mutually beneficial relationship. As it is often common for mentors to learn and implement what they are hearing from another perspective. Secondly, mentorships do not have to come directly from within your own organization. Reaching out and networking with mentors from different organizations will actually benefit you more. Allowing you to see how different organizations are operating and empowering you to implement those changes and having a greater effect within your own organization.


Reskilling 13:17 / 01:00:58

 During the big tech boom in MENA, we have recognized that there is a skill gap. However, the public and private sectors are coming together to combat this gap through collaborating on initiatives aiming to shrink that gap between the tech talents and fresh graduates. Secondly, through w Today, students need to understand and recognize jobs. Due to how rapidly evolving our technology and economies are today, there needs to be a dynamic mindset as they learn. Essentially facilitating the ability for students to reskill while being in university as they work towards graduating.

In conclusion, the MENA region is currently on the edge of a massive tech boom. Although there are challenges, it is evident that there is also a lot of potentials to become a thriving technological oasis. We are curious to hear your thoughts on this. Feel free to share your comments with us or ask questions at

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