Coursera Global Skills Report 2022 ranks UAE first in the world for business skills

  • With 89% proficiency in security engineering, the nation has talent to support its digital transformation programs and initiatives

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates: The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has improved its rankings to rank first in the world in overall business skills, according to Coursera’s latest Global Skills Report. In last year’s report, the country ranked second in the world and topped the Middle East and North Africa region.

Learners in the United Arab Emirates were placed in the top percentile, compared to their peers globally, in several areas of business skills, such as leadership and management, strategy and operations, communication, human resources and entrepreneurship. Skill strengths in these areas demonstrate their ability to take advantage of opportunities and meet challenges, and in turn, contribute to the economic development of the country.

The Global Skills Report brings together data from 100 million learners in over 100 countries who have used Coursera to develop a new skill in the past year. The report compares three of the most in-demand skill areas driving employment in the digital economy: business, technology and data science, with rankings of 75% or more as cutting-edge, 50% as 75% as competitive, 25%-50% as emerging and 25% or less as laggards.

According to the report, the UAE has 642,000 Coursera learners with a median age of 34, with 42% of all being women and 44% continuing their learning on mobile devices.

The report also revealed that learners in the UAE are highly skilled in marketing (92%), accounting (90%) and sales (80%) and have competitive skills in finance (56%).

However, proficiency in technology and data science can be further improved to support the country’s digital transformation goals, with the UAE ranking 69th globally in proficiency in technology and 67th in science. Datas. UAE learners also demonstrated proficiency in security engineering – at 89% – a strong skill that supports the evolution of cybersecurity programs and initiatives.

Learners in the UAE also had competitive skills in databases and operating systems (57% each) and computer networks (56%), but only emerging levels of web development skills (41%) , computer programming and cloud computing (34% each) and software engineering (29%). The 2022 Global Skills Report highlights the mobile development skills gap (17%).

In data science, learners in the United Arab Emirates have advanced skills in mathematics (75%) and are competitive in data analysis (60%). However, skills can be accelerated in machine learning (now at 13%) and areas such as statistical programming (38%), data visualization (48%) and data management (43%).

Anthony Tattersall, Vice President EMEA at Coursera, said: “The UAE has prepared for the post-oil era with a more diversified and highly skilled economy. The gamble paid off, with business skill levels in the UAE leading the region for the second year in a row. However, education leaders must strive to close the skills gaps in technology and data science, which are a strategic imperative to accelerate digital transformation.

He added: “In the wake of the pandemic, we have seen two trends gain traction globally: the big quit and the increased automation of work processes. They also highlighted the need to invest more in human capital development, with priority given to building the digital and people skills required for a competitive workplace. Our data shows that students and employees need accelerated learning pathways to prepare them for the digital jobs of today and tomorrow, and thereby support national development goals.

The report’s global trends include:

  • Enrollment in entry-level or “gateway” certificate courses for women reached 40% in 2021, up significantly from 25% in 2019. Certificates, such as Google IT Support and Google Data Analytics, provide a clear path to gaining the skills needed for high-demand, entry-level digital jobs. These courses require approximately 240 hours of learning in total, which can be completed in just six months at 10 hours per week.
  • There is a strong correlation between proficiency in skills, GDP and access to broadband. Wealthier countries scored higher on overall skill proficiency, as did those with high internet access.
  • Developed countries have seen more learners acquire soft skills, including change management and resilience. Learners from developing countries focused more on digital skills through courses such as supply chain systems and mobile architecture.
  • The most popular business and technology skills around the world over the past year were leadership and management, probability and statistics, and theoretical computer science. For the second consecutive year, Switzerland had the most qualified learners, followed by Denmark, Indonesia and Belgium.
  • Learners have also focused on courses that develop the skills needed to understand the COVID-19 pandemic. Course enrollment in epidemiology and risk management is now four times higher than before the pandemic.

With over 100 million learners, over 7,000 institutions, and over 5,000 courses from 250 of the world’s leading universities and industry educators, Coursera has one of the largest data sets to identify and measure skills trends. In the Global Skills Report, over 100 countries are ranked against each other, with percentile rankings assigned to each skill. A country with 100% skill proficiency ranks at the top of the 100+ countries, and a country with 0% is at the bottom.

To download the full report and discover insights unique to a country or region, visit here.


About Coursera

Coursera was started in 2012 by two Stanford computer science professors, Andrew Ng and Daphne Koller, with a mission to provide universal access to world-class learning. It is now one of the largest online learning platforms in the world, with 102 million learners enrolled as of March 31, 2022. Coursera partners with over 250 leading academic and industry partners to deliver a broad catalog of content and references, including courses, specializations, professional certificates, guided projects and bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Institutions around the world use Coursera to upskill and retrain their employees, citizens, and students in fields such as data science, technology, and business. Coursera became a B Corp in February 2021.

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Yasser Alvi
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