UAE: More young Emiratis said to be entering the finance sector

54 per cent of the UAE graduates surveyed view finance as offering the best career prospects


Nasreen Abdulla

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Published: Wed 26 Jul 2023, 2:00 PM

Last updated: Wed 26 Jul 2023, 7:51 PM

More young Emiratis are entering the finance industry, according to the CFA Institute. Recent figures show that there has been a 23 percent increase in the number of Emiratis who opt for the certification program.

"Over the past five years, there has been a noticeable rise in the number of Emiratis registering for the CFA Program," said Antoine Shehadeh, Senior Director, MENA at CFA Institute. "A third, roughly about 33 percent, of all candidates registering in the UAE are Emirati nationals, marking a significant rise from 27 percent in 2017."

CFA Institute is the global association of investment professionals that sets the standard for professional excellence and credentials. There are more than 190,000 CFA charter holders worldwide in more than 160 markets.

According to Antoine, there has been immense local support for the industry. "The UAE Government is actively seeking to establish the UAE as a regional and global financial hub," he said. "As part of this strategy, businesses are being encouraged to set up operations in the UAE. This influx of businesses has spurred substantial demand for skilled talent."

Resilient Field

There are various factors that have ensured the robustness of the finance sector despite the pandemic and a fast-changing world. "The finance sector has demonstrated its resilience, having successfully weathered both the 2008 financial crisis and the pandemic," said Antoine. "This resilience, combined with the stability and longevity that a career in finance can offer, makes it an attractive option for those seeking a role in a recognised profession."

According to the CFA Institute’s 2023 global graduate outlook, over half — 54 percent —of the UAE graduates surveyed view finance as offering the best career prospects. This percentage is more than double the global average of 24 percent. When the same study was carried out in 2021, only 15 per cent of respondents had considered finance as a lucrative field of study.

This surge in interest can be attributed to several factors. "The perceived stability, flexibility and opportunity offered by the finance sector are increasingly alluring to those entering the job market for the first time," said Antoine. "With firms eager to secure top talent — and willing to pay competitive salaries to do so — the future appears bright for those who choose to embark on a career in finance."

Fast evolving

The sector has also been at the forefront of embracing new technology. "The industry has embraced artificial intelligence, machine learning, and data science, thus blurring the traditional boundaries between technology and finance, presenting an appealing career pathway for those pursuing STEM subjects," said Antoine.

He also added that a large number of graduates from the UAE have expressed interest in working overseas. "The international recognition of the CFA Program and the global mobility offered by a career in finance are undoubtedly attractive," he said. "It is therefore not surprising that a resounding 84 per cent of UAE graduates value professional and post-graduate qualifications."


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