A new partnership between the UAE government and social media company LinkedIn aims to provide young Emirati women with the skills to thrive in a rapidly changing workforce.
The Future Skills for Women programme, an initiative between the Government Development and the Future office of the UAE Government and Microsoft-owned LinkedIn will equip 2,000-plus young Emirati women with the skills for private-sector jobs, enabling them to participate in the future of the country and grow their contribution to the economy, a government statement said.
Focusing on future skills is “a top priority for the UAE government amid the changing employment landscape, where constant upskilling and reskilling are necessary to keep pace with the growing disruptions caused by technology across all sectors”, Ohoud Al Roumi, Minister of State for Governmental Development and Future, said.
The female participation rate in the UAE workforce is far higher than the Middle East and North Africa average at 46 per cent, rising to 66 per cent in the public sector. A rule was also introduced in March this year making it compulsory for all stock market listed companies to have at least one female director on their boards.
The Mena region has the lowest female labour force participation rate in the world, at only 22 per cent last year, compared with 77 per cent for men, according to the World Bank.
But the region was among the top two globally for the most progressive regulatory changes, according to its Women, Business and the Law report.
The Future Skills for Women programme in the UAE will provide participants with more than 1,000 training hours covering skills such as lifelong learning, communication and technology, the statement said.
“Our data indicates a gap in the representation of women in the majority of fast-changing jobs around the world, most notably those jobs related to technology and its applications,” Sue Duke, head of global public policy at LinkedIn, said.
“We must ensure that women are well represented by making gender equality a priority for governments and businesses around the world. In order to achieve this, recruitment practices must focus as much on skills and capabilities as they do on formal qualifications.”
The programme will create online communities, bringing together learners and experts to share knowledge and ideas as well as connecting people to companies offering job opportunities and career development. It will also organise workshops and webinars with professionals from the UAE and abroad.
It is one of a number of initiatives the government is developing with private-sector partners to create programmes allowing it to “manage rapid global changes, increase future readiness and advance the social and economic progress of the UAE”, the statement said.