54% of UAE employees say their formal education was not adequate for today’s digital world

ServiceNow (NYSE: NOW) today released the findings of a new study that explored employee sentiment on the impact of technology and digital skills on their career and the future of the workplace.

79% of surveyed UAE employees agreed that digital skills give people an edge in business and an almost equal number (84%) said new technologies are helping them reach their potential.

The study — which surveyed 5,500 working adults (18+) in the UAE, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Sweden, Switzerland, the Netherlands and the UK — also highlighted that UAE employees are far more positive about the impact of AI on their jobs, compared to their EMEA peers.

Almost three quarters (74%) — a whole 26 percentage points higher than the EMEA average — agree that AI is the biggest opportunity for the future of the workforce. An equal number agreed that AI will boost productivity in the workforce, while only 52% of EMEA employees shared the same sentiment.

Although UAE employees are largely optimistic about the value of tech and digital skills, half of workers (54%) acknowledged that their formal education did not prepare them for today’s working world and 82% also noted that additional education on technology/digital skills would help them feel more confident about their career prospects.

As a consequence, seven in ten workers in the UAE (72%) recommended that formal education on AI should be mandatory before the age of 18 and a similar proportion (71%) think the same about coding. 72% also agreed that there needs to be a standardized qualification for digital skills that employers can recognize. Speaking of employers, 81% of UAE employees said businesses have a responsibility to promote the development of AI skills in the workforce.

Commenting on the findings from the study, Mark Ackerman, Area VP for Middle East & Africa at ServiceNow said, “There are two key takeaways for me. For one, while it is clear that employees in the UAE welcome more digital technologies in the workplace, organizations need to be thoughtful when making these investments — an approach that unifies and simplifies processes, will ensure that technology works for employees and customers. The second is that organizations have to make a commitment to providing their employees with not just a career path, but also with the re-skilling and up-skilling opportunities and training programs that will enable them to be their best selves and be valuable contributors to the company and broader community.”

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