UAE tops MEA in business skills

The UAE has been at the forefront of the digital transformation revolution.
The UAE has been at the forefront of the digital transformation revolution.

Dubai - The country ranks fourth in the MEA and 50th globally, with 17 per cent skills proficiency.


Sandhya D'Mello

Published: Thu 16 Jul 2020, 8:54 PM

Last updated: Thu 16 Jul 2020, 11:27 PM

The UAE is recognised as a global centre of business talents and has topped the region in business skills as it gets busy building a strong digital nation.
The latest Coursera 2020 Global Skills Index (GSI) highlights that the UAE and Saudi Arabia are on the right track to build capabilities in both business and tech, but fall behind in data science skills. The GSI highlights skill trends for the Middle East and Africa region, illustrating skill strengths for the UAE and Saudi Arabia as well as a need for regional reskilling across domains.
The UAE's position as a global centre of business talent stands out, as it ranks fifth globally and first in the MEA in business skills, according to the report. This is further underpinned by UAE Vision 2021.
The UAE, however, lags in data science skills that are essential for digital transformation. It ranks fourth in the Middle East and Africa and 50th globally, with 17 per cent skills proficiency. This highlights a general shortage of data scientists across businesses and a lack of adoption of data-driven analytics.
Additionally, Saudi Arabia leads the UAE and the rest of the region in technology skills, ranking first in the MEA region and 28th globally. In line with the country's Vision 2030, learners are rapidly reskilling to capitalise on opportunities created by the country's digital transformation efforts. And while Saudi Arabia is leading the race of becoming the biggest regional tech hub, following its recent major investments in artificial intelligence and financial technology, it still lags in data science skills. It ranks 5th in the region and 54th globally in data science skills with only 10 per cent skills proficiency, similar to the UAE.
"During a global slowdown, public and private sector institutions across the Middle East must accelerate reskilling efforts that prepare workers for a rapidly changing economy," said Jeff Maggioncalda, CEO of Coursera. "This year's Global Skills Index reveals skills trends and insights that will inspire institutions to coordinate skills development for a more inclusive and advanced workforce."

The UAE's decision to embark on journey to bolster digital economy has made it mandatory for all the sectors to adopt business strategies that will align and help them to work towards government's goal to completely transform the UAE in to a 'digital nation'.
Sandrine El Khodry, vice-president - MEA, Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise, said: "The UAE has been at the forefront of the digital transformation revolution. This was evident from how the public sector continued to provide services online, while rolling out e-learning initiatives during the full lockdown. In my opinion, the success of this can largely be attributed to a forward-thinking IT strategy that is in place to position the UAE as one of the best places in the world to conduct business."
ALE - sponsor at the French pavilion at Expo - having regional headquarters in Dubai, says Covid-19 has taught them valuable lessons on the importance of having a strong IT infrastructure and an even robust communication strategy in place to ensure business continuity in times of crisis.
"We've seen how almost every industry has relied on video conferencing and collaboration solutions to keep remote employees connected and continue to provide their customers with the best service they can in these adverse times. Our business strategy allows us to accompany our customers and partners in their day to day digital transformation. We're essentially building on more than a century of innovation and emphasising a continuous digital transformation across industries," said El Khodry.
Businesses will expedite their plans and the focus will be on secure business continuity, and as a result, the security demand bar will be raised. With Expo 2020 Dubai on cards, there will be more connected devices which in turn means enhanced risk of cyber security attack, thereby boosting demand for cybersecurity solutions.
Mohamed Abdallah, regional director, Middle East, Turkey & Africa, SonicWall: "As economies transform into digital environments, securing these platforms becomes the number one concern for businesses. We are seeing a quick and aggressive demand toward enforcing best security practice apart from adopting a holistic approach toward security. Having said that, we are seeing accelerated demand from sectors such as healthcare, education and the federal government as these have played an active role in establishing what digital transformation can truly achieve."
NetApp teamed up with local governments, banks and others organisations in supporting the 'work from home initiative' and was able to offer many solutions that permit a company's IT infrastructure to scale enough to support the exponential demand of virtual work environments.
Fadi Kanafani, general manager and managing director- Middle East, NetApp, said: "Only few countries emerged as visionaries and forward thinking as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. The UAE has topped the list! Most - if not all - governmental services continued to be available despite the challenges with hardly any interruption as a result of the country's digital transformation initiatives that were put in place few years back. It was almost as simple as saying 'let's put our investments and executed strategies into practice', and they did it!"
In light of the current global pandemic, businesses are finding that staying agile is more important than ever. However, in the rush to quickly deploy remote work, both networks and those who manage them are facing new pressures. Fixed-in-place security solutions are anything but agile, so when a rapid transition takes place they struggle to keep up.
Security administrators need to take a multi-pronged approach that integrates security concerns into their overall networking strategy. This way, the agile solutions they deploy will be suitable not just for the matters at hand, but for future protection against digital transformation efforts and new vulnerabilities and cyberattacks as well.
Alain Penel, regional vice-president - Middle East, Fortinet, said: "During these times of rapid change, especially over the coming months, deploying fully integrated security protections will need to be a top priority. Having a unified and integrated security fabric in place, equipped with the right solutions, means that even the most dynamic environment can be properly secured. With the right combination of solutions in place, the remote worker strategy can be managed efficiently, securely, and cost-effectively." -

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