Dear colleagues, dear members,
Happy New Year to all of you – this first edition of UFI Info comes out a few weeks into 2024, and just ahead of Chinese New Year on February 10, which will ring in the year of the dragon. Sound powerful? It is! In Chinese mythology, dragons represent courage, creativity, and innovation. Dragon people are charismatic, ambitious, adventurous, and fearless. They have confidence, independence, and vision. They are not afraid to pursue their dreams and goals.
I certainly see some parallel between this and our industry‘s mindset, as we are for sure ambitious and confident right now. As I am writing this, we are going through the findings of the next edition of the UFI Global Barometer which is being released this week. It confirms the ongoing growth trajectory we find ourselves on as an industry. In essence and on average, 2023 brought us back to 2019 revenues globally, and 2024 will see us (to stay in dragon terminology) roar mightily higher still – but let’s keep in mind that inflation has helped here to a fair share on the revenues side.
The Barometer also shows the growing role of AI in our industry – one of UFI’s “5 trends to watch” that we released in the last UFI Info of 2023 (if you missed them – catch up on our blog here). There is a broad consensus that this technology impacts our business – and more than one-third of businesses in our industry are using AI already in their marketing/sales and research & development work respectively. As with every tech innovation, everyone right now has an opinion, and this will be an ongoing conversation at our upcoming regional conferences throughout the next months.
To “pursue our dream and goals”, we need people – across the world, we are hiring. The Barometer will show that staff numbers will grow most – proportionally seen – in the Middle East & Africa region in 2024, followed by Asia-Pacific – the vast majority of businesses there want to expand their workforce. Europeans are most cautious here – but even in this part of the world, 43% of businesses plan to expand their workforce. Staffing was a hot topic at our Global CEO Summit a few days ago – see the column from our President for more on that.
To get these hires done, we have to continue to tell the story of our industry in a better way. I have been thrilled to see the overwhelming response to UFI’s talent narrative white paper that we released last year (download it on our website here).
We are sharing this and many other papers and positions on industry issues and advocacy initiatives on UFI’s new advocacy portal at ufi.org/advocacy – to make it easier for everyone to access these vital materials.
So – let’s be dragons and pursue our and our industry’s dreams and goals in 2024. As always, UFI will be there to support you.