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Engineering and technology skills in the United Arab Emirates

IET factfile: Engineering and technology skills in the United Arab Emirates

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a country in transition as it continues to diversify away from its economic reliance on oil and gas to more of a knowledge-based economy. This transition is fundamental to the country’s long-term vision and brings with it a clear focus on strengthening the education system; the upskilling and Emiratisation of the workforce; knowledge and innovation.

To explore some of the challenges and opportunities in the UAE, we commissioned a survey by international market research and data analytics expert YouGov to gauge the workforce issues faced by engineering and technology organisations.

A total of 325 respondents took part in the survey, which was open to engineers or those working at a senior decision-making level within organisations that employ engineers. Fieldwork was carried out between 13 December 2021 and 5 January 2022. The results are not weighted and therefore are not representative of the population. The findings are in our attached report and represent only the views of those engineering professionals and employers who responded to the survey.

Some of the key findings are as follows:

  • 93% have had difficulties recruiting in the last year
  • 54% are experiencing a skills shortage
  • Gender and ethnic diversity are not significant issues
  • Industry should be more involved in university STEM education in order to deliver more industry-ready graduates
  • Artificial intelligence (AI) is expected to be the most important industry in the next decade
  • 97% will need some training to deliver their five-year priorities with over one third saying that problem solving is the top skill needed.

Based on the survey findings, we have developed a series of recommendations that will support the development of a steady pipeline of talented engineers in the UAE. This will help to maximise the impact and influence of engineering and technology organisations and, in turn, will help the UAE to achieve its long-term goals.