A silhouette of a graduate. Image Credit: Agency

Abu Dhabi: Engineering students in the UAE, especially those specialising in the civil, mechanical and petroleum fields, are likely to be the most successful at finding jobs after graduation, a study has found.

Those majoring in business and medical are also very much in demand, according to the Ministry of Education’s Majors in Demand Study 2018. To arrive at its conclusions, the study polled a balanced sample of more than 13,000 students graduating from 80 per cent of the country’s higher education institutions in 2017, with the aim of providing academic support and counselling for students looking to pursue their higher education in the UAE.

The findings were released by the ministry on Wednesday to raise awareness among future university students about employment opportunities and the requirements of the UAE labour market. Universities in the country, both public and private, are currently accepting applications from potential students. A statement from the ministry said that the findings should steer future students towards the skills and majors that will help them find the best employment opportunities.

“The UAE’s wise leadership places high priority on investing in human capital, building capacity and nurturing scientific talent. This stems from a firm belief that any investment in the human capital is an investment for the future, and will support our plan to build a post-oil knowledge economy,” said Dr Ahmad Al Falasi, Minister of State for Higher Education and Advanced Skills.

“The network of universities and research institutes in the UAE attracts hundreds of thousands of students every year in an array of specialisations and majors. This makes it imperative that we offer academic support and guidance for students and their parents, and introduce the various educational options and their compatibility with the labour market,” Dr Al Falasi added.

The UAE’s wise leadership places high priority on investing in human capital, building capacity and nurturing scientific talent.

- Dr Ahmad Al Falasi, Minister of State for Higher Education and Advanced Skills

For the purposes of the study, the ministry compared the number of students in each field who were able to secure employment with the number of overall graduates. Students who had pursued engineering majors were found to be the most in demand after graduation. Specifically, civil engineering graduates appeared to be most in demand, followed by graduates of mechanical engineering and petroleum engineering respectively. Demand for those specialising in mechatronics and industrial engineering was also found to be on the rise.

Students who had studied business majors came next in terms of securing employment, followed by students who had pursued the medical sciences and information technology respectively.

Within business itself, marketing graduates had access to the most employment opportunities, followed by those who had studied finance, accounting and quality management. On the other hand, business majors who had specialised in retail and tourism appeared to be the least in demand in 2017.

Meanwhile, medicine and surgery were the most in-demand specialisations among medicine majors, but demand for general dentistry graduates was low.

Among graduates of information technology, those who studied information security had most access to employment opportunities, followed by students who specialised in networking and information systems.

Finally, education majors were also able to land jobs, especially those who had knowledge of early childhood and special education.

For a student about to embark on their university career, choosing the right major is pivotal for their future; it is a choice influenced by economic, social and personal factors.

- Dr Mohammad Al Mulla, undersecretary for higher education academic affairs

In order to find the best jobs easily, students should opt for specialised technical majors rather than general ones, according to a recommendation by the Ministry. Accounting and finance, for example, were found to be more in demand than general business administration, just as those who had studied early childhood and special education fared better in the labour market than those who had pursued degrees in general education and teaching.

Although more engineering graduates found jobs upon graduation than graduates of other fields, it was education majors who were able to land jobs fastest, the study also revealed. Specifically, those who had specialised in science education were employed the fastest, followed by those who had specialised in early childhood education and English language teaching. They were followed by graduates of business administration, information technology and engineering. In contrast, those who studied environmental and health sciences took a long time to land jobs.

The ministry’s study showed that demand is also currently growing for graduates of specialised law majors, including commercial and international law. The ministry is therefore working with higher education institutions to ensure that these majors will be taught in both English and Arabic; currently, they are available only in Arabic.

“For a student about to embark on their university career, choosing the right major is pivotal for their future; it is a choice influenced by economic, social and personal factors. With that in mind, the ministry sought to guide the youth through this study and help them make informed decisions about their careers,” said Dr Mohammad Al Mulla, undersecretary for higher education academic affairs at the Ministry.

Graduates most likely to find jobs Image Credit: Gulf News

Most in-demand majors in the job market

1. Engineering (civil followed by mechanical and petroleum)

2. Business administration (marketing followed by finance, accounting and quality management)

3. Medicine (medicine and surgery)

4. Information technology (information security followed by networking and information systems)

5. Education (early childhood and special education)

Majors that help land jobs the fastest

1. Education (science teaching, followed by early childhood education, and English language teaching)

2. Business Administration (accounting followed by international business management, and banking and finance)

3. Information technology (information system followed by networking, and information security)

4. Engineering (computer engineering followed by chemical engineering, and architectural engineering)