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Young UAE residents most confident in skills to thrive

Issac John /Dubai Filed on August 31, 2020


Young adults in the UAE are among the most willing to retrain or reskill, a study found

Young people in the UAE are among the world's most confident in their skills, and are prepared to work hardest and smarter - in spite of reduced pay - to realise opportunities in a post-Covid world, a Standard Chartered survey has revealed.

Many of these young people are considering starting a new business in the wake of the pandemic, but first want to learn how to manage their finances better, the study said.

The survey finds that Covid-19 is significantly impacting personal finances, with one-third of the global population already earning less, and more than half expecting the pandemic to further affect their income and/or employment.

"This finding is also echoed in half of the UAE population. Yet, young people aged between 18 and 34, and those in emerging and fast-growing markets are the most confident in their skills and are prepared to work hardest to realise opportunities in a post-Covid world," said the report.

Globally, young people are particularly confident, with 80 per cent of 18 to 34-year olds (compared to 87 per cent in the UAE) feeling they have the digital skills needed to thrive post-Covid-19 compared to 63 per cent of those over 65 (71 per cent in the UAE). And, with many graduating or leaving school in the midst of a global recession, younger generations are also more willing, or able, to adapt to the current circumstances. For example, in the UAE, 76 per cent of 25 to 34-year olds would set up a second income stream; and 77 per cent of all 18 to 44-year olds would reskill compared to only 56 per cent of those aged 55 and over.

In fact, the study found that people in the UAE are among the most willing to retrain or reskill, with 76 per cent of respondents viewing this as an option to increase their future earnings, compared to a global average of 64 per cent.

Sonny Zulu, head of Retail Banking, at Standard Chartered UAE, said the young UAE residents are the most confident in their skills and are prepared to work hardest and smarter to realise opportunities in a post-COVID world. `'As an international bank that is deeply rooted in the UAE, we believe that we have a role to play by helping them manage their money as well as providing them with tools that make banking easier, so that they can focus on leading the way to recovery."

The study of 12,000 adults across twelve markets - Hong Kong, Taiwan, Mainland China, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, India, UAE, Kenya, Pakistan, the UK and the US - offers insights into their financial wellbeing and employment outlook in these challenging times, and how banks can play a role in helping them manage their money.

It reveals a stark contrast between the financial reality that people face and their confidence in the future. This can be explained by a willingness - particularly among young people and those in fast-growth and emerging markets - to work harder, take steps to adapt income streams and reskill if they can, in order to earn more.

Globally, millennials and Generation Z are also more likely to respond to the crisis by starting a new business. 55 per cent of UAE residents aged 18 to 44 would consider doing so in the next six months compared to 35 per cent of those aged 45 and above. These sentiments are higher than those in the rest of the world, where the figures are 52 per cent and 30 per cent respectively.


Issac John

Editorial Director of Khaleej Times, is a well-connected Indian journalist and an economic and financial commentator. He has been in the UAE's mainstream journalism for 35 years, including 23 years with Khaleej Times. A post-graduate in English and graduate in economics, he has won over two dozen awards. Acclaimed for his authentic and insightful analysis of global and regional businesses and economic trends, he is respected for his astute understanding of the local business scene.

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