As the digital age marches on, many creative industries continue to thrive as they benefit from digitisation. We are seeing the effects of this particularly in the Middle East and Asia, countries who continue to invest in their creative industries and exhibit high amounts of internet usage amongst their populations. In order to be attractive to businesses, creatives must consider the trends shaping the employment market, especially with regards to technology and digital media.
Considering the dynamic nature of digital media and its many platforms, more employers are looking for candidates with a broader range of skills and experience. This includes not only skills on an operational and creative design level, but strategic skills as well.
Different regions and countries have varied economic landscapes, which means certain professions are more desired depending on where you look. While it is important to be aware of the employment trends in the area you wish to work, it is also important to be aware of the opportunities available in different countries and economic climates and keep you skills transferable.
What are some of the most sought-after skills for professionals?
1. Product development and design
Middle Eastern countries make up two of the five countries (Saudi Arabia and the UAE) with the most internet penetration, as of January 2023.
With increased internet access comes a lot of opportunities for creatives, especially concerning developing internet resources, content and digital assets. These three areas alone encompass a huge variety of skills which candidates may use to give their portfolio or resume a competitive edge.
2. Front-end development
Front-end development is the process of creating the front-facing code that generates what displays on a web page. Front-end developers are responsible for creating the look and feel of websites, apps and other digital products.
A large market for this is games, especially mobile games which are projected to reach a market size of $315 billion in 2023. Asia and the pacific regions have led the market in this area, opening up opportunities for not only programmers and software engineers, but front-end designers.
3. User experience design
User experience design is the process of enhancing user satisfaction by improving product usability and accessibility during interaction. This involves a variety of skills which include research, planning, testing and prototyping.
All digital products integrate a form UX design procedure to ensure their product is optimised and desirable before entering the market.
UX design skills are a great addition to a creative portfolio, especially with the high number of tech startups in Asia in the Middle East, with India for example being the third largest tech-startup ecosystem in the world with nearly 27,000 companies.
4. Technical creativity
For those creative professionals who lean more towards technical skills, you can provide tremendous value to businesses with a front facing content function with digital design capabilities.
Creatives more content orientated are not by any means left behind by the newer opportunities being introduced with technical innovations. With content being more important than ever, companies and countries around the world are investing in their creative output and communications.
Asia has always led in this area with the International Labour Organization (ILO) estimating that in 2019 Asia and the Pacific accounted 52% of global media and cultural employment, the largest share on the globe.
5. Digital design
We are seeing increased investment into design ventures in the Middle East, a notable example being the UEA’s commitment to Dubai Design week for the last four years. The art and design scene in the UAE grows every year and with it comes demand for digital designers.
Digital content is especially important considering the Middle East’s enormous tourism and travel sector, forecasted to contribute 486.1 billion to the regions GDP by 2028. This creates opportunities for professions with skills in graphic design and photography.
Animation has quickly gained popularity on a global scale and demand for this is led by Asian countries. It can be created using a variety of techniques and technologies and has been used to create various types of media, from simple cartoons to feature-length films.
Japan, in particular, is recognised for its animated productions and has traditionally been an export-oriented subcontracting market when sourcing talent. This talent usually comes from other studios across Asia the Pacific.
More recently we are seeing Chinese and South Korean domestic animation hubs rising from demand for locally produced animation products. This is bolstered by new talent entering the professional market and strategic state level investment.
Animation is not only used for entertainment and television but has become an extremely popular medium for advertising and marketing. Creative and artistic professionals with some animation skills are seen as extremely valuable to Middle Eastern, Asian and Pacific business functions.
How can you find great opportunities to show off your creative skills?
If you want to get ahead in the creative industry, it's important that your skills are up to date with what employers are looking for. The global pandemic accelerated industry demand for more digital and technology focused creative skillsets, as more consumers adopted internet-based behaviours.
Interested in new and exciting creative opportunities in the Middle East and Asia? Get in touch with us today and take the next step in your professional journey.
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