UAE: 83% people believe certificates from tech giants more likely to get them jobs in future

Demand for online learning likely triple in the year 2023, study finds


Lamya Tawfik

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Published: Wed 21 Dec 2022, 5:59 PM

Last updated: Wed 21 Dec 2022, 6:15 PM

The appetite for online learning in the UAE will most likely triple in the year 2023, with new language learning, digital skills and investments topping the list of sought-after skills in the next year, according to a global online learning platform.

The November 2022 study conducted by Coursera in partnership with Censuswide, an international market research consultancy surveyed individuals in the UAE, aged between 18-40, on their career goals, online learning habits, and choice of digital skills development courses.

The study showed that up until November 22 only a third of those surveyed said they took online courses and that 95% are ‘open’ and 68% are ‘very open’ to taking an online course in 2023.

Amongst the top three skills people in the UAE are keen on acquiring in 2023 are new language (36%), advanced digital skills such as programming, cloud computing, and software engineering (31%), and investing and trading (27%).

According to the data people living in the UAE highly value degrees with only 17% expressing a ‘strong regret’ over attending university. However, with the shift towards a digital economy, data suggests graduates need additional skills to prepare for the world of work and are embracing innovative online learning solutions to help bridge the gap.

With 1 in 5 of the survey group admitting to ‘rarely’ or ‘never’ using the skills gained during university education in their careers, 36% revealed that their degree has not prepared them for their job. The study also found that nearly 31% of people surveyed across the UAE are regretting their choice of degree and 63% would not choose their current career if they could go back in time.

Keen on equipping themselves with a wide range of high-demand skills including soft and technical skills, 45% of those exploring online learning in 2023 are looking for ‘self-improvement’ courses while 44% aim to ‘broaden knowledge’.

Since the start of the pandemic in March 2020, 83% of people in the UAE have upskilled via digital platforms by taking an online course, and as of September 2022, Coursera has seen a 28% YoY growth in the number of learners from the UAE.

Hadi Moussa, General Manager and Managing Director for Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) at Coursera, said: “With more than 724,000 registered learners in the UAE, our goal is to bridge the gaps in the labour market by preparing both the current and new generation of the workforce with in-demand skills of the rapidly transforming workplace. Our rich and diverse content aligns with the needs of the UAE’s development agenda and enables learners to equip themselves with the necessary skills needed to participate in the new digital economy.”

The study has also revealed that 83% of UAE consumers believe that in the next five years, skills certifications from tech giants like Google and Meta will be just as valued by certain employers as traditional degrees. This growing trend towards alternative qualifications is reflected in Coursera’s own data too, where 4 of the top 10 courses in UAE this year are Professional Certificates by Google.

According to Coursera the most popular courses, based on enrolment, in the UAE included courses on project management, the science of wellbeing, English for career development, negotiation, learning how to learn, digital marketing and financial markets.


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