Improve job skills to meet demand for post-Covid jobs

Don’t rest on your laurels, make the most of the current pandemic scenario to use the extra time you get to upskill yourselves for better job prospects.

Space
By
Sankar Pillai
August 24, 2020

While speaking to a section of the Arab media earlier this year in June, Professor Amar Kaka, Provost and Vice Principal, Heriot-Watt University Dubai talked about how upskilling would always be valued and remain a necessity in order to stay relevant in the job market.

UAE universities on course

Talking about the students enrolling for courses at the university especially during the pandemic, he said, “They see this time as a good opportunity to take stock of their careers, what they want in the future and take steps accordingly.”

The World Economic Forum states that five years from now, over one-third– or 35 per cent – of skills considered important will have changed.

A study released by consultancy McKinsey and Company in 2018 also found that 45 per cent of jobs in the Middle East were technically automatable, translating into 20.8 million full-time employees and $366.6bn in wage income.

Elaborating on these findings, Kaka said, “Education can address this issue by giving people the skills they need to harness the power of tech and automation.”

In keeping with Kaka’s line of thinking, Heriot Watt University Dubai is looking at introducing new courses in line with market requirements, with plans to present courses in Data Science, Robotics, Autonomous and Interactive Systems.

Sectors buck the trend

Several sectors within the UAE economy have taken a hit due to Covid, however many of these industries are also fighting back in order to get back on track and gain lost ground. Sectors such as e-commerce and logistics have been quick to adapt to the needs of the hour and see opportunity in times of adversity.

Speaking to Gulf News earlier this month, Nafisa Khokha, COO of UAE brand, Jokoka, an e-marketplace to buy and sell unique and exclusive products, talked about how the brand remodelled its outlook in approaching customer needs during the pandemic and ensure the profits continued to flow.

“The world and its perception for business has changed, the present and future is e-commerce. As Covid-19 started to spread, quick adoption of work from home took place, and online shopping for groceries to housing decorative, office equipment in short from pin to desks.”

Khokha said she felt this change in consumer behaviour is for the long term. “We predict that this consumer behaviour will last long after the crisis ends, as relying on apps and digital platforms for shopping online becomes the new preferred way for shopping all around the globe.”

The logistics sector presents a positive picture of recovery and growth as well. Eugene Mayne, Founder and CEO of established UAE logistics brand, the Tristar Group, said while speaking to Gulf News earlier this month that he laid trust in the brand’s impeccable business model to see the group through the lows.

Reading the future of the logistics industry in the post-Covid phase, he said, “With oil prices recovering and the impact of the pandemic mostly under control we see a strong V-shaped recovery of the logistics industry in the next 12 -15 months.”

With industry players from these sectors showing hope that things will turn around, e-commerce and logistics seem primed to offer more job opportunities in the months to come as well.

Upskill now!

There is also a lot of importance being attached to upskilling the current work force to get them to stay in sync with job requirements in a post-Covid phase.

Speaking exclusively to Gulf News in June this year, Aws Ismail, general manager at the international recruitment firm Marc Ellis UAE, said, “The UAE has been reliant on skillsets from outside the country for a long time, and with the restrictions on travel, many employers are having to fill in the skills shortages by upskilling their current work force or looking at candidates inside the UAE, rather than continuing to bringing talent from outside.

“We believe now is the perfect time to develop new skills which are relevant to the market needs.”

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