Family businesses ‘prioritize expansion, technology’

Expanding into new sectors and markets is first on the priority list of Dubai’s next generation of family businesses, with business development second and the adoption of new technologies third.

Among the next generation of family business members worldwide, business development came first, followed by expansion into new sectors and markets in second place. Talent management and attracting and retaining the best young talent rank third, according to a survey by the Dubai Center for Family Businesses

The research aimed to develop a better understanding of the changing dynamics of family businesses, as well as the strategic directions preferred by their future managers.

Top priorities

The 2024 survey, released by global consultancy PwC in partnership with the Dubai Center for Family Businesses, identified the top priorities for the next generation of family business members over the next two years. A total of 889 respondents from 63 countries took part in the survey, including a group in Dubai.

Comparing the priorities of Dubai respondents with those of their global counterparts, the survey shows that the next generation of family business members in Dubai are most focused on expanding their business into new sectors and markets as a top priority for the coming two years.

The survey results revealed a strong interest in generative artificial intelligence (AI), with the majority of respondents expressing a desire to use this technology in the future to drive innovation and drive greater efficiency in their businesses .

Generative AI

About 87% of young members of family businesses in Dubai showed personal interest in generative AI, well above the global average of 82%. The survey also found that respondents in Dubai are more familiar with generative AI than average, with two-thirds feeling personally comfortable with the technology, compared to 53% of their global peers.

The report highlights the role that generative AI can play in improving profitability, operational efficiency and customer experience, and reflects respondents’ views on the technology’s transformative impact on their business operations. About 32% of respondents in Dubai believe that generative AI will increase the profitability of their businesses within 12 months, which is higher than the global average of 21%.

Of the next generation family business members surveyed in Dubai, 42% of respondents confirmed that they are aware of succession plans within their family business; However, many did not participate in the preparation of these plans. The majority of participants indicated that they find it easy to understand the various provisions of family protocols and constitutions.

45% of respondents stated that the current generation’s ability or willingness to retire can pose challenges to the succession process.

Main benefits

Participants identified the key benefits of AI as increased operational efficiency, improvements in employee productivity and an improved customer experience. AI was also identified as a catalyst for adopting new technologies, improving the digital capabilities of the workforce and achieving business growth.

The survey found that members of family businesses in Dubai have a good understanding of family values ​​and goals, as well as the rights and obligations of all business owners. The majority also expressed a desire to assume a leadership position or role in governance within the next five years.

The findings also highlight the positive expectations of the next generation of family business members in terms of their future careers, including learning and growth opportunities within their family businesses.TradeArabia News Service