• Amir Reza

The Future of UAE's Job Market

Updated: Dec 6, 2018

The onset of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, marked by the coming together of physical and virtual worlds, has redefined the very basic nature of work across all industries and sectors. Along with the creation of exciting new job opportunities, several job categories are now becoming extinct, with few others being displaced. As a result, while there has been a spike in productivity, a major skills gap in today's labour market has also come to the fore. In light of these developments, national strategies and federal laws for higher education and initiatives for lifelong learning are being launched to bridge the gap between education and workplace, with an aim to better prepare the UAE's job-seekers to stay relevant in the constantly evolving job market.

The rising relevance of these efforts were underscored by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, during a speech he gave to a group of over 3,000 UAE youth in March 2017. In his talk, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed shared that the future of the UAE is not oil, and is dependent on their skills alone.

During the same event, His Highness Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, reminded the participants that they are no longer competing amongst themselves, but with the greatest minds around the world.

As the UAE continues to diversify its economy to cut down reliance on oil by promoting other industries, these efforts are beginning to show positive results, with the growth of non-hydrocarbon sectors matching those of other oil exporting nations of advanced economies. Logistics, manufacturing, construction, technology, tourism, energy, and financial services are among the sectors that contributed to the success of these efforts.

Along with the growth of the economy, these sectors will witness the creation of more jobs, sparking demand for highly skilled workers, particularly those with Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) skills and training. Candidates with expertise in engineering, product design, research and development (R&D) and marketing will be the most in-demand globally in industry sectors, such as manufacturing, energy, and Tech, Media and Comms (TMC), according to a McKinsey report. These skills, considered as core technical skills, are exportable and enables positive exchange of knowledge between them.

As of 2018, candidates with IT security, systems administration, accounting and finance skills are among highly sought-after professionals by recruiters, according to recruitment specialist Robert Half. Skills that are in demand right now and are likely to remain so next year include data scientists and analysts, project managers, digital and cyber security professionals, says industry experts. Administration and support roles are also available for candidates with the matching skill sets and experience.

To effectively cater to the growing demand for graduate education among working professionals in the UAE, universities are now offering a range of comprehensive programmes and courses that are designed to help candidates adapt to the highly dynamic job market.

The advancements in the fields of science and technology and their impacts on various fields, has prompted the higher education sector to actively adapt itself towards incorporating broader skillsets -- closing the IT skills gap and utilising newer methods of continuing education.

Logistics, healthcare, aviation and tourism are among other areas of focus that are relevant to the UAE economy, which are available now

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