Two-thirds of UAE workforce wouldn’t mind a new career after COVID-19: says Boston Consulting Group poll

Stock Jobs and Recruitment
Learn new skills to seek a new career? A good number of UAE’s workforce are already at it. Image Credit: Shutterstock

Dubai: Nearly two-thirds of the UAE workforce will pursue a different career if they had the choice in a post-pandemic world. Even if they can’t do so immediately, they are still willing to retain and develop additional skills in pursuing these hopes.

A new study found 37 per cent of UAE workers feel a “threat” from their positions becoming automated in the past year. Workers over 60 and those between 20-30 years are particularly aware of this risk, “potentially due to greater awareness among younger generations and the nature of jobs held by their elders”.

That’s according to a survey by BCG and for the study Decoding Global Reskilling and Career Paths. “The increasing presence of automation in work processes has seen concerns regarding job security rise substantially, with many now questioning their futures as a result,” said Dr. Christopher Daniel, Managing Director and Partner, BCG Middle East. “As such, workers have experienced a change in professional outlook.

Stock Dr. Christopher Daniel
“Irrespective of their professions, UAE workforce members are preparing to enter new career paths. They have analyzed their long-term futures in their current positions, with many concluding that other roles and industries will provide greater job security..” – Dr. Christopher Daniel

Who’s affected

* 43% of respondents in the UAE reported that recent events have had a detrimental effect on their employment status, slightly above the 36% global average.

* Some have had their working hours reduced, while others have experienced redundancy due to economic turbulence. Workers with a lower level of education have been particularly impacted, while Master’s degree holders have been less affected with 34% negatively impacted.

* Specific job roles, such as marketing, consulting, and media, were heavily hindered, and the travel and tourism sector also suffered significantly.

Already at work

Some have already made those choices – 63 per cent of those polled dedicate a few weeks “minimum” to skillset development over the course of a year. This applies to workers from all age groups and various education backgrounds.

Since the outset of the ongoing pandemic, law, media, digital, consulting, and creative jobs have recorded the highest levels of training. This predates even the onset of the COVID-19.

Self-study rose from 53 per cent in 2018 to 66 per cent in 2020 – and above the global average of 62 per cent. Mobile app usage for training purposes has also increased from 18 per cent to 35 per cent in the same timeframe.

Who’s learning?

Among UAE respondents, 66% are willing to retrain for a different job role – this is consistent across degree holders and age groups.

Media and information professionals, social care workers, and those involved in purchasing and logistics expressed the most willingness to retrain, with the media and financial institutions industries demonstrating the highest willingness overall.