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Closing skill and talent gap in Dubai


Even when the world is recovering from the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic on the economy and people are rejoining their office, many companies are continuing the work-from-home culture. The employees are looking forward to the same. Even schools, colleges have become online. In this situation, it has become essential that all business become digitalized. ‘Online’ is the word of the hour.

To support a seamless infrastructure for the same, a huge pool of talented, skilled professionals are required. Unfortunately despite the huge influx of foreign skills there is still a huge gap between the demand and supply for such skill-sets. This gap is affecting the economic and social progress adversely and hence is detrimental to all business activities.

Following are few facts about the skill and talent gap:

  • Top 10 skills currently available in the GCC region does not include “digital” or information technology or technology-related skills.
  • The Dubai Government’s goal of making it a Smart city by digitalizing all sectors of business would not be possible without the technological skill. Hence it is of utmost importance to close the gap at the earliest.
  • Professionals from the Information and Communication Technology field are required to support the 5G connectivity, Artificial Intelligence, cloud computing and cyber-security resilience that Dubai is trying to adopt.
  • As per Gartner, for the year 2021, IT-related costs that the Government had had to bear is accelerating beyond the expected revenue.
  • The education imparted in the various esteemed institutes barely include any real world issues and hence makes students ill-equipped to handle real-life professional scenarios. Not only in the digital section, as a whole education should be modified to bridge the gap between what skills are required and what we have right now.
  • Thanks to the COVID-19 global pandemic, the necessity to digitalize all sectors had become more crucial. Be it health care, education, business, anything. For smooth operation of the world as we knew it, the gap needs to be closed and required skills need to be fostered.
  • The GDP of UAE will gain 15.8 billion AED (as per World Economic Forum’s upskilling for Shared Prosperity report) if the gap is successfully closed.
  • Mismatch in available jobs and available skills in the market is hampering the economy
  • Skilled professionals as well as capital is stuck in sectors that are not developing as much as expected which is again not that great for the economy.

What can be done to close the gap?

  • The government can invest more in academic projects along with the educational institutes making subjects related to Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths the main focus. Skills pertaining to specialized skills can also be honed in schools and colleges.
  • MENA region has 30% youth unemployment who can be taught and upskilled to close the gap.
  • Existing employees of business organizations can be reskilled, i.e., can be imparted required training and education in order to enhance their skillset and make them capable of handling the digitalized future. Continuous improvement in their professional life would also ensure better staff retention.
  • Private companies can become knowledge partners along with the educational organizations. They can arrange for trainings for school/college-goers teaching them specific skills required to function in their industry.

UAE’s Accelerator programme was launched to gauge how much gap there is and to generate plans, practical tools and new business models in order to close the gap. Closing the skills and talent gap by upskilling and reskilling would ensure faster progress, lower unemployment rate by generating about 43000 additional jobs (as per WEF).

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