The UAE has been ranked second globally for the business skills of its workforce.
The country is second only to small European nation Luxembourg in terms of the skills that have been developed in areas such as entrepreneurship, leadership, management, strategy, operations and communication, according to the Global Skills Report 2021 by online education company Coursera. In terms of overall skills, the UAE was the highest-placed in the Middle East and 35th globally.
“In recent years, the UAE government has implemented numerous initiatives, aimed at promoting a skills-based economy. These are having a positive impact on the economy as evidenced by the UAE’s business leadership position in our rankings,” Anthony Tattersall, Coursera vice president of Europe, the Middle East and Africa, said.
Coursera was founded in 2012 by two Stanford University Computer Science professors, Andrew Ng and Daphne Koller. The company provides online courses through partnerships with more than 200 universities and industry players.
The company had 82 million registered learners as of March 31, when it raised $519 million through an initial public offering of its shares on the New York Stock Exchange. It is currently valued at about $5.9bn.
In the UAE, Coursera provides services to the the Abu Dhabi School of Government, where it has enrolled 43,000 employees in 187,230 courses and it has developed a data science academy with Abu Dhabi's Department of Government Support.
The UAE’s overall business skills proficiency ranked near the top of the list globally. For technology and data science skills, the country's talent pool ranking is 72nd globally and 71st respectively, according to the report.
The UAE government's prioritisation of digital transformation as a driver of national development and economic advancement means there is "a significant opportunity to upskill" in these fields, Coursera said.
“When it comes to technology and data science skills, access to a variety of job-relevant credentials, including a path to entry-level digital jobs, will be key to help reskill at scale, not just in the UAE but worldwide,” Mr Tattersall said.
The number of women enrolled in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) courses in the UAE is growing. Participation in STEM courses among women grew to 41 per cent in 2019-20, up from 33 per cent in 2018-19, the company said.
Across the wider Mena region, Coursera has 4.2 million learners, with a median age of about 30. Tunisia was the market where candidates possessed the greatest technology skills (26th globally) and Israel had the most skilled data scientists (27th globally).