Dubai - Digital transformation and excessive data generation is rapidly giving rise to new skills.
Prospective employers across the UAE are adapting their recruitment, onboarding and training processes to ensure today's Emirati job seekers are equipped with the necessary skills to achieve in tomorrow's workplaces. Here's how they're doing it.
As the Fourth Industrial Revolution cements its 'game changer' status across a number of global industry sectors, UAE firms are reacting by evolving their recruitment methods and training programmes to ensure existing and future employees lead the way.
In-line with the UAE Vision 2021 National Agenda, which states clear aims for the UAE's transition to a knowledge-based economy, a skilled Emirati workforce is the cornerstone of establishing the country as a world-leader in fostering entrepreneurship. Indeed, unlocking the potential of UAE nationals is widely viewed as the chief enabler in the UAE's short-term economic development.
While government-backed education programmes will enhance this brain gain, the private sector shares a considerable responsibility in ensuring skilled Emirati candidates can take advantage of new industries and new jobs.
Skilled recruits for new industries
In 2019, the UAE's ambitious Hyperloop project will reach another major milestone as testing continues in France. With a "fully operational" segment of the project due to follow, efforts are already underway to ensure a skilled Emirati workforce is in place ready to drive it forward.
"Digital transformation and excessive data generation is rapidly giving rise to new skills and qualifications, while deeming others obsolete," said Nadine Obeid, UAE Manager at Bayt.com, ahead of the 19th edition of Careers UAE, which runs at Dubai World Trade Centre from 19-21 March.
"While these technological advancements create additional challenges for job seekers, companies face similar issues. Our research shows that 65 per cent of employers have identified a skills gap when it comes to specific technologies and new tools."
Yousef Shamoun, Co-founder & CEO of ZenHR Solutions, echoed Obeid's concerns: "One of the main challenges we're currently facing in the HR Automation Software Solutions industry is the lack of cloud computing expertise, let alone the fierce competition for the top industry talent."
However, Obeid believes that the skillset challenge presents opportunities for employers to steer the next generation of workers: "It is vital that we make adequate provisions and investments in education, learning, and career support to ensure a healthy and productive labour market."
Asma Al Kateeri, General Manager at Sundus, added: "To build the skilled workforce required in these new and future sectors, there is a fundamental need to start the transformation earlier. In the last couple of years, the government has overseen a change in academic curriculum to match international education standards; it has established specialised high schools to allow students to deepen in their subjects of interest; and championed many other initiatives, training programmes and scholarships - all concentrated on building a skilled workforce with particular capabilities for futuristic industries and positions."
The shift in the recruitment and training mindset supports a similar demand from job seekers looking for career progression that provides relevant training and upskilling from the onset. According to Careers UAE the demographic analysis highlights how attendees have changed in recent years.
"While employers are increasingly looking to evaluate candidates through initial online research, face-to-face meetings are still paramount in the recruitment process, providing both those recruiting and applicants the opportunity to further discuss available roles, skills and career opportunities in person," noted Asma Al Sharif, Show Director of Careers UAE.
"Careers UAE has formed a solid platform for UAE Nationals during its 18 years, providing visitors with a variety of opportunities to meet with companies they would be interested to work for and to explore the benefits for each in one location. The traditional appeal of the right designation and financial rewards are still important considerations during these meetings, however, there is a growth in the number of companies looking to invest in the long-term development of Emirati resources to aid relationship building - and this aligns with Careers UAE visitors' continued interest in new training opportunities."
Al Sharif credits numerous government initiatives for changing dynamics across the Emirati job market, with career opportunities offering education, in-job training and contributions to national development being highly prized by job seekers. Recent initiatives include the establishment of the National Human Resources Development Fund, which is tasked with overseeing a 200 per cent acceleration in Emiratisation in less than a year, including setting new targets for national involvement in the private sector workforce, with the aim of boosting Emiratisation in the sector tenfold by 2025.
Mariam Al Ali, Head of Emiratisation and Government Relations at Mashreq Bank, said: "Many of the company's UAE national hires stem from previous editions of Careers UAE and believes development opportunities often win over candidates. Experienced candidates are looking for career progression, others want fresh training programmes to be provided by an organisation - it's vital to offer training to ensure career progression. No-one wants to stay still." - firstname.lastname@example.org