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Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, speaks at the majlis. Image Credit: Twitter@mbzfuturegen

Abu Dhabi: The UAE plans to continue being an energy producer for the next 50 years, but a big portion of its employment opportunities will also focus on technology and roles that incorporate digital skills, speakers at the Mohammed bin Zayed Majlis for Future Generations stressed on Sunday.

Alternative energies

Kicking off the Majlis, which saw more than 13,000 registered attendees, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, called upon youth to be ready for a different era. “The founding generation lived in a different time. They had fewer opportunities and bigger challenges. But there is also a lot of competition today, which means that you need to double your efforts. The great achievements of the past stood out more, because back then, there were almost no opportunities. This is why you will struggle more today. And I am sure this generation is ready and will help build a greater and stronger country in the next 50 years,” Sheikh Abdullah said.

61%

Increase in tech-related jobs in the UAE

Sheikh Abdullah also highlighted some of the other growing industries in the UAE, including the current direction of the energy sector. “The UAE will remain an energy-producing country. Our country’s strategy now is to invest more in alternative energies, such as nuclear energy for example. We also want to develop technology for solar energy within the country or abroad, or wind energy. For that to happen, there must be international long-term agreements with other countries in terms of science, research and production. We always look for the leaders in energy production and they need to have a sustainable vision, in terms of energy and economy,” he said.

Gender diversity

This shift towards technology has already become apparent during the COVID-19 pandemic, with a 61 per cent increase in tech-related jobs and a 200 per cent increase in content management roles, said Ali Matar, head of LinkedIn EMEA Emerging Markets, Middle East and Africa. “In the UAE, we’ve seen that 78 per cent of tech-related jobs are currently filled by men … and this should encourage women to be part of these verticals,” Matar said.

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Ali Matar speaks at the majlis. Image Credit: Twitter@mbzfuturegen

The daylong event, which is being held virtually for the first time, allows youth to connect with UAE leaders and decision makers, and gain insight that can help them plan for the future. Leaders, top executives and ministers shed light on the most in-demand sectors of the UAE economy, while encouraging students to develop skills and practices that will help them thrive in a post COVID-19 world.

$23trillion

Value of new opportunities that will be created in the digital sector worldwide over the next five years

Digital skills

Most delegates emphasised the need for lifelong learning and digital skills, including AI, which they said would dominate the UAE of the next 50 years.

Sectors on the rise
* Technology
* Specialised medicine and support
* Digital content freelancers
* E-commerce
* Digital marketing specialists

Popular job portal LinkedIn is already reflecting these changing workforce needs. Matar said the growth in content management roles in the UAE is especially unique. He also stressed the opportunities in technology, with 150 million jobs expected to be created within the field over the next five years. “In the past, we’ve seen people [present themselves] as marketing managers. Now, the demand is more digital marketing managers. There is a growing demand for soft skills combined with digital prowess,” Matar said.

Investment in tech

Skills in demand:
* Digital marketing
* Digital analysis
* Programming
* Financial forecasting
* Project management

200%

Increase in content management roles in the UAE

His analysis was confirmed by Khaldoon Al Mubarak, managing director and group chief executive officer at Mubadala. “Over the last 20 years, we were investing in conventional businesses in sectors like oil and gas, finances, real estate and infrastructure. This journey was successful for us, with the grade of God. But for the last three to four years, we have adapted our investment strategy, and began to focus on promising future growth sectors like technology. To be clear, we do not mean that the [sectors that we invested in the past], like oil, gas, mining and real estate don’t have a future. However, we are focusing on sectors that have the largest return on investment, like technology,” Al Mubarak said.

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Ohoud Al Roumi speaks at the majlis. Image Credit: Twitter@mbzfuturegen

Ohoud Al Roumi, UAE Minister of State for Government Development and the Future, explained that today’s youth will be responsible for the UAE’s next 50 years. “In the next stage, we will implement 3,000 different initiatives, and many of these will be in new promising sectors. In fact, $23 trillion (Dh84.4 trillion) worth of new opportunities will be created in the digital sector worldwide over the next five years. There is a growing demand for skilled individuals in data science, Internet of Things, AI, cybersecurity, financial technology engineering, regenerative medicine, telemedicine and genomics,” Al Roumi said.

Sectors of the future
* Data science
* Internet of Things
* AI
* Cybersecurity
* Financial technology engineering
* Regenerative medicine
* Genomics

Future-proof skills

Leaders therefore encouraged students to be flexible, and ready for rapid change by future-proofing their skills will continuous learning. “Two in every five people are expected to experience a skills gap in the next decade. In the future, the accelerated scientific and technological changes will decrease the lifetime of knowledge and information, and increase the need for lifelong learning. Therefore, it is important to focus on enhancing personal skills, especially the ability to continuously learn and develop,” Al Roumi said.