Six skills UAE employers want in 2019


Six skills UAE employers want in 2019

Entering the UAE job market for the first time? Nadine Obeid, regional manager at, highlights this year’s most in-demand employment skills

According to the latest Middle East Skills Report, 65 per cent of employers face difficulties sourcing candidates with all the skills they need, with creative thinkers, visual thinkers and those with a global mindset among the hardest to find.

For first-time jobseekers, this is good news. By enhancing and highlighting your expertise in these and other highly sought-after areas, you can dramatically increase your chances of securing that all-important role.

The six most in-demand skills for 2019 are:

1. Bilingual communication skills

According to’s 2018 Job Index survey, 69 per cent of all employers in the Middle East seek applicants who speak more than one language – specifically English and Arabic – as well as those who can communicate accurately, concisely and appropriately for every professional situation, both verbally and in written form. Jobseekers who can demonstrate these skills during the interview process, whether by telephone, video or in person, will immediately appear more attractive to prospective employers. Online language courses and apps can go a long way in improving communication skills.

2. Team player

Employers will, in one way or another, consider your willingness to work as part of a team when hiring. In fact, according to the survey results, 52 per cent of employers across all fields state that teamwork is one of the most crucial skills overall. Throughout your school and university careers, you will almost certainly have had experience working as part of a group, even with fellow students with whom you have little in common. Teamwork should not be underestimated as it points to an efficient worker, listener and communicator, as well as someone who is flexible and motivated. Think about enhancing and demonstrating your teamwork skills by engaging in social events, joining a sports team or volunteering.

3. Working well under pressure

Resilience, working well under pressure and self-motivation are arguably some of the most important skills an employee can possess, as stress in the workplace is inevitable. Employers across all industries expect staff to be able to juggle multiple tasks simultaneously and manage their time in order to meet deadlines. But it’s being able to do it while keeping a cool head that makes the biggest difference. Starting a project you’re passionate about and taking note of how you manage your time and stress levels is a great way of preparing for your next interview – and will also help to bolster your CV.

4. Creative thinking

According to the latest Middle East Skills Report, creative thinking will be among the top three most important qualities employees exhibit by 2027, while at the moment – for junior roles in any case – the most critical skills are teamwork, time management and written communication. With this shift in priority over the next few years, companies are focusing on developing cultures that foster and reward innovation, with employees who are confident to suggest new ideas, to embrace challenges and explore alternative solutions. This is especially important in the customer service industry, where an employee’s ability to think outside the box – and on their feet – can be an unparalleled skill to impress the customer and yield positive results for the business.

5. Global mindset

Having a global mindset denotes an ability to effectively navigate the diverse cultures, economies and political systems of global industries. It’s a skill that’s especially important to companies or businesses that work alongside multinational organisations where there are a number of employees and clients from different backgrounds. Over 40 per cent of employers looking to fill roles at every level admit that they face the most challenges when searching for candidates with a global mindset. One way to improve upon this is to keep up to date on international news and subscribe to publications that offer strategic insights.

6. Visual thinking

Visual thinking is the ability to effectively conceive of words as images. It’s an essential skill for organising thoughts in a coherent and creative manner, and one that is particularly sought after within the art and design industry. Approximately 75 per cent of employers who participated in the Middle East Skills Report rated visual thinking as a quality they look for when hiring. Creating powerful, eye-catching presentations is a great way to make an impression and stand out as a resource in a company. Candidates should appreciate how critical this skill is and put some time aside to develop it before applying.


  • Dubai