Graduates can address skills gap

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Graduates can address skills gap
Experts at the CIOMajlis Annual Conference discussed ways to incorporate local talent into their companies, as well as the steps that can be taken to address the skills gap issue.

Published: Wed 22 Mar 2017, 6:28 PM

Last updated: Wed 22 Mar 2017, 8:46 PM

There is a continued disconnect between graduating students and available job opportunities in the UAE, with many businesses failing to fill available positions with local talent due to a skills gap.
Experts at the CIOMajlis Annual Conference on Wednesday discussed ways to incorporate local talent into their companies, as well as the steps that can be taken to address the skills gap issue that commonly arises when companies expand their employee roster.
Miriam Burt, managing vice-president of retail at Gartner, advised companies to first look at their own employees to see if any of them can take over an available role, before they look to hire talent from outside the company. If such a candidate exists, but does not have the necessary skills, then consider signing them up for training programmes that will help them develop the necessary skills. This, she said, is especially true in the case of IT skills, and that there are several companies in the UAE which offer valuable IT courses for those interested.
While this is a good short-term approach, companies should also consider taking the long-term approach where they get in touch with universities in the region and collaborate with them so that graduating seniors have a better grasp of the necessary skills that will help them enter the workforce.
Dr Jan aus dem Moore, associate partner of digital at McKinsey Dubai, said having the proper talent means nothing if a company does not have the proper work culture that utilises the talents of their employees. "You should be careful not to stifle the valuable talent that you have in your company. Many will not remain with you for very long if they feel that they are not being properly utilised."
This is especially an issue with attracting and retaining millennial workers, who are hired due to their drive and innovative nature, says Olivier Schaller, associate vice-president of IDC Middle East, Africa & Turkey. While 49 per cent of organisations are actively seeking to employ millennials, many fail to retain them due to a lack of stimulation at their job. Schaller listed a number of ways that can help retain millennial workers which included: flexible working models, relaxed dress codes, assigning them challenging projects and providing them with cutting-edge technology to use.
The CIOMajlis also saw the launch of the region's first annual innovation award for university students, which will give them an opportunity to work in the largest IT companies in the UAE. The CIOMajlis is an initiative launched by Smartworld, an etisalat and Dubai South joint venture, in 2016 in line with the UAE's Innovation Strategy and the government's goal to make it the world's most innovative country by 2021.
The CIOMajlis has tied up with universities in the UAE who will nominate students for this award. A panel of judges will evaluate the projects and select the winners. The award winners will also be given special recognition during the CIOMajlis Annual Conference and access to the CIOMajlis platform run by leading technology executives, giving them an opportunity to present their innovative ideas. The aim is to promote innovation among Emirati and expatriate youth by providing them a platform to display their talents and receive exposure to the industry's experts.
"By offering jobs and other rewards, we aim to encourage all students to go beyond the ordinary thinking patterns and utilise their talent to the maximum and by bringing such talent to companies, we aim to take UAE to further heights in innovation and excellence," said Ahmed Al Mulla, chairman of CIOMajlis.


Rohma Sadaqat

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