In the UAE, there is a rising demand for unique skills like resilience, emotional intelligence, and conflict management, as highlighted by the Global Skills Development Report 2024 from Coursera. These skills are crucial for leadership development, which is a key focus for learners. Other in-demand skills include people development, leadership, supply chain systems, blockchain, audit, general accounting, and change management. Coursera’s study indicates that UAE learners are concentrating on leadership, resilience, and blockchain skills, gearing up for positions such as operations manager, IT project manager, and business analyst. This aligns with the UAE’s emphasis on business intelligence and digital transformation roles, which are anticipated to expand significantly. However, with 82% of UAE workers looking for more training to boost career confidence, continuous skill enhancement is vital.

The UAE’s Coursera learners include a diverse group of consumers, university students, and employees from both public and private sectors. As of Q1 2024, there are over 1 million Coursera learners in the UAE, with a median age of 35 years. Among these, 33% are women, with 27% in STEM fields. The significant increase in enrollment shows that UAE learners are increasingly investing in their education to prepare for digital jobs, especially in AI, data science, and other emerging fields. Coursera identifies top skills and competencies using an over-indexing methodology, indicating that UAE learners are enrolling in resilience-building courses at a higher rate than global learners. This reflects a recognition among UAE learners of the rapid and profound changes they face, driven by generative AI, which is transforming the skills workers need.

Kais Zribi, General Manager for the Middle East and Africa at Coursera, notes that in the face of unprecedented change, workers are not only seeking technical and digital skills to enhance productivity but also human skills to navigate disruption. Richard Jackson, Chief Operating Officer of Tasc Group, emphasizes the importance of resilience in facing challenges and uncertainty, and how emotional intelligence enhances interpersonal relationships and leadership effectiveness. In the culturally diverse UAE workplace, emotional intelligence is crucial for sensitive cross-cultural interactions, fostering trust and collaboration. Conflict management skills are also vital for resolving disputes constructively in increasingly diverse workplaces.

Coursera’s report shows a staggering 1,100% increase in GenAI enrollments in the UAE, outpacing growth in the Mena region and globally, reflecting a growing interest in AI and machine learning among UAE learners. Zribi highlights that the UAE is accelerating AI proficiency to close skill gaps and build a competitive workforce, with AI integration across sectors requiring targeted training programs to nurture a skilled talent pool and significantly contribute to the UAE’s economic growth.