While interest in STEM courses are a hit with UAE students, the cost of doing so remains a concern. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Want to polish your tech knowledge? Or upskill?

If you do, chances are you will be put off by the steep cost of padding up on the knowledge and skills needed. That’s according to findings in a survey commissioned by IBM. Apart from the cost of these programs, respondents cited concerns that career options may not be available to them. In the UAE, the responses offered a mixed set of results with:

  • 78 per cent thinking that digital credentials are a good way to supplement formal education. But 53 per cent assume these programs are too expensive.
  • Compared to other countries, UAE students report the highest familiarity with, and interest in pursuing, STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) jobs.
  • Students (72 per cent) report the highest levels of familiarity with STEM jobs compared to other UAE learners. However, about one-in-three jobseekers (35 per cent) and over four-in-ten career changers (44 per cent) say they are ‘not at all familiar’ with STEM jobs.
  • A majority of respondents across all audiences do not currently work in a STEM job. More than half of students (73 per cent), jobseekers (52 per cent) and career changers (64 per cent) say they’re interested in working in a STEM job.
  • Some uncertainty emerged among many respondents regarding what is considered to be a STEM job.

“STEM education has never been more important for the achievement of the country’s Net Zero 2050 strategic initiative,” said Shukri Eid, IBM’s General Manager for Gulf, Levant and Pakistan.

The findings were based on more than 14,000 interviews of students, people seeking new jobs, and those seeking to change careers, located across 13 countries.