At Edarlab a recent education management conference held in Dubai, business leaders and educators met to discuss how universities and businesses can work together to ensure fresh graduates get a job.
For 2017, the most in-demand educational degrees are business management, with 33 per cent of employers looking these graduates, according to online job search services Bayt.com's Middle East job index survey. A degree in engineering comes in second place, with 32 per cent employers vying for them. Commerce is third in line (with 25 per cent of employers), followed science (19 per cent), and 17 per cent of employers want graduates with administrative qualifications and 19 per cent seek graduates with IT degrees.
When it comes to specific individual skills, the most sought after traits are being a team player and cooperative (53 per cent of employers), ability to work under pressure (50 per cent) and good bilingual communication skills, in English and Arabic (47 per cent).
Degrees that ranked quite low in employability were arts qualifications, at 4 per cent, interior or fashion design degrees (5 per cent) and law education (3 per cent). Others that scored low were psychology, social sciences, statistics, flight training, medical and teaching qualifications.
Students often end up choosing a programme they are most passionate about, maybe without doing their research if that specific degree is in demand in the job market. For instance, those who currently hold arts qualifications may struggle to find employment, considering only four per cent of employers in the UAE are demanding graduates from these streams.
The Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge (ADEK) with businesses and higher educational institutions to ensure they provide operating licences to only those universities that offer a study area relevant to the market.