According to Coursera’s Global Skills Report 2021, the UAE ranks first in the MENA region and second globally in overall business skills, only after Luxemburg. This year’s study draws on performance data since the pandemic’s onset from more than 77 million learners on the platform to benchmark skills proficiency across business, technology, and data science for over 100 countries.
While UAE’s overall business skills proficiency ranks near the top of the list globally, technology and data science skills represent areas for continued growth. With the UAE government’s prioritisation of digital transformation as a driver of national development and economic advancement, the Global Skills Report highlights a significant opportunity for UAE professionals to upskill in these fields — the country’s talent pools for technology and data science skills ranked just #72 and #71 respectively.
Communication, Entrepreneurship, Leadership and Management, and Strategy and Operations are areas where UAE learners have placed within the top 97 percentile or higher in business skills. These proficiencies are fundamental to accurately interpret and respond to the opportunities and challenges that determine an organization’s success.
Another notable outlier in the overall technology skills performance of the country was its competitiveness in Security Engineering, where the UAE ranked in the 77 percentile. With the country witnessing a 250 percent increase in cyberattacks through the pandemic, there has been a strong emphasis on attracting and developing cybersecurity skills within the UAE, which helps explain this high ranking.
Similarly, despite scoring in just the 34 percentile in overall data science skills, UAE learners have demonstrated strong capabilities in the highly-valued area of Data Analysis (82 percent), which is increasingly playing a part in everything from streamlining business processes and enhancing employee productivity, to recognising market trends, and adapting to customer behaviours and preferences.
Based on the performance data of millions of learners on Coursera globally, the report also reveals the skills and time required to prepare for entry-level roles.
Learners must invest in both soft and technical skills to stay job-relevant in a rapidly evolving labour market. For example, an entry-level cloud computing role like a Computer Support Specialist requires learning both soft skills like problem solving and organizational development, and technical skills such as security engineering and computer networking. Similarly, entry-level marketing roles require data analysis software and digital marketing skills in addition to soft skills like strategy, creativity, and communication.
The most transferable skills across all future jobs are in human skills like problem solving and communication, computer literacy, and career management. Foundational skills like business communication and digital literacy enable workers to participate in increasingly tech-heavy and global work environments. As people change jobs more frequently, job search and career planning skills will be critical to role transitions and sustaining employment.