Eight in 10 UAE professionals confident about future of work

Demand for software engineers, doctors, network administrators, business operations managers and biomedical engineers is likely to increase, survey finds

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Eighty-five per cent of professionals working in the UAE either feel confident about the future of work in the Arab world’s second-largest economy or are excited about growth prospects, a survey has found.

Demand for software engineers, physicians, network administrators, business operations managers and biomedical engineers is likely to increase in the future, findings of the survey conducted by jobs site Bayt.com and market research agency YouGov showed.

Other job roles that will also be in demand include systems administrators, designers, data analysts, chemical engineers, nurses and electrical engineers, according to the survey, which polled 1,447 respondents in more than 15 countries, including the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain and Lebanon, between July 11 and August 11 this year.

“The future of work will bring technology and people together to drive experiences and intelligence in the hiring process,” Ola Haddad, director of human resources at Bayt.com, said.

The global jobs market, which took a hit during the pandemic, is showing signs of recovery as economies reopen. Job listings in the UAE have increased as Dubai gears up to host Expo 2020.

More than half of all jobseekers in the UAE are considering switching industries in the next few months as new career opportunities open up in sectors such as health care, engineering and banking, a separate survey by Bayt.com and YouGov showed last month.

In the current economic climate, the top three industries for job security are in government (31 per cent), followed by military, defence and police (27 per cent), and oil, gas and petrochemicals (23 per cent), the survey found.

More than seven in 10 working professionals in the UAE believe that technological factors, such as digital transformation, automation and artificial intelligence, are most likely to change the nature of work in the future.

While 12 per cent of workers in the UAE are ”nervous” about what the future holds, more than half of the respondents said economic factors, such as business landscape and market saturation, are most likely to change the nature of work.

Nearly two in five respondents said sociocultural factors including changing consumer needs and trends or political factors are likely to change the nature of work in the future.

While soft skills such as time management, communication and teamwork are considered important today, over half of the professionals polled in the Mena region said that both technical and soft skills will be equally important 10 years from now, according to the survey results.

However, 37 per cent of respondents said technical skills will be more important, while 9 per cent picked soft skills as a priority.

Creative thinking (92 per cent), technology and computer skills (90 per cent), strategic vision (88 per cent) and communication (87 per cent) are the main skills expected to be more crucial in hiring decisions in 10 years' time, according to the survey data.

“Throughout the Mena region, organisations are increasingly trying to ensure that professionals gain the skills, experiences and support that will empower them to reach their potential in their careers,” Zafar Shah, research director of data services at YouGov, said.

“From a recruitment perspective, companies are adapting to emerging needs accelerated by the pandemic by employing new technologies, methods and skills that will vastly improve the job quality and productivity of professionals in the future.”

Previous job experience (87 per cent) and CV presentation (83 per cent) are considered the most important factors in hiring today. Cultural fit (75 per cent), diversity (74 per cent) and degree of specialisation of the candidate (72 per cent) also play a major role in hiring decisions, the poll revealed.

Previous job experience (77 per cent) will continue to be the top factor in securing employment 10 years from now, the data found.

This is followed by the candidate’s degree of specialisation (73 per cent) and diversity (70 per cent), according to Bayt.com.

UAE recruiters use online job sites (66 per cent) and company websites (62 per cent) the most for hiring, the survey found.

However, 91 per cent of respondents said that in the future, online recruitment will increasingly be used for hiring over traditional methods.

Social and professional networks (64 per cent) and online job boards and career websites (63 per cent) will be the most reliable sources for seeking jobs in the future, survey respondents said.

Recruiters also believe AI and technology will improve the hiring process, with 90 per cent of those polled saying that response time to applicants is likely to improve using applicant tracking systems, while 82 per cent believe that the future of hiring will rely more on automation, AI and analytics.

Updated: September 12, 2021, 9:06 AM