UAE jobs: Emirates ranks first globally for workforce business skills

The nation's talent pool leads in areas such as management, entrepreneurship, leadership, strategy and operations, report finds

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The UAE has been ranked first globally in terms of the business skills of its workforce, according to a report by US online education company Coursera.

The country is also ranked highly in terms of business skills such as entrepreneurship, strategy and operations, leadership and management, and communication, the Global Skills Report 2022, which assessed the skills of more than 100 million learners in 102 countries over the past year, said.

In terms of overall skills, the UAE was the highest-placed country in the Mena region and 23rd globally.

“The UAE has been preparing for the post-oil era with a more diversified, high-skill economy,” Coursera said in the report.

“This bet has paid off, with proficiency levels in the UAE leading the region for the second year in a row. However, education leaders will need to address weaknesses in technology and data science skills.”

The UAE has been investing in building a knowledge-based economy as it set sights on greater economic diversification.

The government’s expansion of its 10-year golden visa is aimed at providing incentives to professionals to move to the UAE, as well as promote the development of skills among the country's existing high-calibre talent pool.

California-based 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.

In the UAE, Coursera provides services to the Abu Dhabi School of Government, Abu Dhabi’s Department of Government Support and Khalifa University through access to online courses from the world’s top universities, equipping people with the skills needed in a workplace that is being transformed by emerging technology.

By the middle of this decade, an estimated 85 million jobs may disappear while 97 million new ones will take their place as automation and digital technology revolutionise almost every industry, Coursera said.

The digital transformation of economies and businesses will displace 75 million jobs as the division of labour shifts between humans, machines and algorithms, according to the World Economic Forum.

However, 133 million new roles may emerge that are more adapted to this technology-led future.

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For technology and data science skills, the UAE’s talent pool was ranked 69th and 67th, respectively, in the world, the report said.

Learners in the UAE also scored high in security engineering, the report found.

“At an 89 per cent proficiency level, these are the skills that the country needs for initiatives like its Cybersecurity Council, which launched in 2020. Business leaders should find ways to put those skills to work,” Coursera said.

The UAE Cybersecurity Council was established in November 2020 with the mandate of developing a comprehensive cyber-security strategy and creating safe and strong cyber infrastructure in the Emirates.

Meanwhile, the most popular business skills among Coursera learners in the UAE include audit, negotiation, sales, strategy and general accounting, according to the report.

Learners are also studying in-demand computer science skills such as graphic design, design and product, computer graphics, software testing and operating systems, while data analysis software, data visualisation software, data analysis and Big Data skills are popular, the research revealed.

About 42 per cent of UAE learners are women while 44 per cent of users in the Emirates study on a mobile device, Coursera said.

In total, Coursera has 642,000 registered learners in the UAE, with an average age of about 34.

The US maintained its overall skills proficiency with a global ranking at 29. However, it lost ground in core technology and data science skills, Coursera said.

While its proficiency in business skills rose, learners in the US fell behind other high-income countries in a number of key technology and data science skills, including software engineering, cloud computing and mathematics, the report said.

Forty-seven per cent of learners enrolled in courses globally are women, up from 45 per cent last year and 38 per cent two years ago, Coursera said.

However, women learners lag in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (Stem) enrolment, it said.

The developing world, particularly the Asia-Pacific region and sub-Saharan Africa, had the highest rate of learner growth, the report found.

“Learners in the developing world showed relatively high levels of business skills proficiency, but scored lower in technology and data science,” Coursera said.

Meanwhile, courses in human skills had more learners from developed countries, while those in digital skills had more from developing ones, the report showed.

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Watch: Some of the stats behind the UAE's hiring boom

Updated: June 14, 2022, 9:06 AM
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