By Amira Aboushousha: A fractional CMO with over 15+ years of experience in B2B marketing, Martech, and Fintech.

In recent years, the world has faced significant challenges, including economic downturns, political instability, and the COVID-19 pandemic. Moreover, it has also seen a substantial increase in layoffs across various industries, which caused a great deal of fear and uncertainty among workers, who are worried about losing their jobs and being unable to find new employment. 

The fear of the unknown can be particularly stressful, as people may not know what the future holds for them or how they will be able to find new work, which also makes it difficult for people to plan for the future. Still, looking at the situation from a different perspective, an opportunity to reassess one’s career goals and consider new paths is essential. It can also be an opportunity to take a break and recharge or to pursue personal projects or hobbies that may have been put on hold. 

It’s time to embrace the freedom and open work market that can come from a layoff.

While the challenges facing the MENA region can seem daunting, there are opportunities for those willing to adapt and take advantage of the changing job market. By staying proactive and taking advantage of resources and opportunities, those laid off can seize opportunities to find new and rewarding paths.

Take a step back and reflect on your skills, experience, and career goals. This can be an excellent time to consider further education or training to increase your marketability and competitiveness in the job market. It can also be a good time to connect with others in the industry, as this can help identify new job opportunities and build relationships with potential employers. Another option is to consider starting your own business. The MENA region has a vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem, and many resources are available to support those looking to start their businesses, including funding, mentorship, and networking opportunities. 

The changing nature of work in the MENA region has also presented new opportunities for those willing to adapt and embrace new ways of working. One such opportunity is the rise of freelancing, remote work, consultancy, and outsourcing fractional teams. These work arrangements can offer greater flexibility, autonomy, and the ability to work on various projects rather than being tied to a traditional full-time job. Freelancers and remote workers in the MENA region can offer their services to a global market thanks to the proliferation of online platforms and tools that enable remote collaboration. This can be especially attractive to those seeking to leverage their skills and experience in a particular field, as it allows them to work on projects that align with their interests and expertise.

Consultancy and outsourcing fractional teams, on the other hand, offer a way for businesses to access specialized expertise and talent on a project-by-project basis rather than committing to a full-time employee. This can be an attractive option for companies looking to reduce costs and increase efficiency, as well as for professionals who prefer the flexibility of working on a project-by-project basis. 

“AI is simply a tool, and like any other tool, it can be used for good or for ill.”

There are a lot of examples of the many success stories of individuals and businesses in the MENA region and across the world who have taken advantage of the opportunity to work in freelance, remote, consultancy, or outsourcing roles, as well as many professionals who embraced the myth of AI replacing human intelligence.

This common myth is that artificial intelligence (AI) will eventually replace human work and lead to widespread unemployment. However, this myth is not supported by the evidence. While it is true that AI can automate specific tasks and make particular jobs redundant, it can also create new jobs and enhance the work that humans do.

In addition to the potential for AI to create new job opportunities, professionals can also use AI to their benefit in several ways. Here are a few examples:

  1. Automating mundane tasks: AI can automate time-consuming or repetitive tasks, freeing professionals to focus on higher-value activities. For example, an accountant could use AI to automate data entry and analysis, allowing them to spend more time on tasks that require critical thinking and decision-making skills.
  2. Enhancing productivity: AI can help professionals work more efficiently by providing them access to real-time data and analytics or by automating tasks such as scheduling or email management. This can help professionals to get more done in less time and allow them to focus on the most critical tasks.
  3. Improving decision-making: AI can analyze large amounts of data quickly and accurately, providing professionals with insights and recommendations that can help them make better decisions. For example, a marketing professional could use AI to analyze customer data and identify patterns and trends that could inform their marketing strategies.
  4. Enhancing skills: Professionals can also use AI to improve their skills and knowledge by learning how to work with technology. For example, a software developer could learn how to build and deploy AI-powered applications, or a data scientist could learn how to use machine learning algorithms to analyze data.

It is also essential for governments and companies to invest in training and education programs that help workers to adapt to new technologies and acquire the skills they need to thrive in the changing job market. This could include funding retraining programs or offering incentives for companies to invest in employee training and development.

“The only limit to our growth is the limitations of our own thinking.” – Edward de Bono.

Overall, the current state of work in the MENA region presents a unique opportunity for individuals to lay off, explore new paths in the open market and harness the power of AI and new technologies to accelerate and power their growth.