Skilled trades must go digital to attract future workforce in the UAE
The UAE recognizes that skilled trade provides value according to recent findings from 3M’s 2022 State of Science Index survey. The survey stated that while 81 percent respect skilled workers, they would not pursue a trade career themselves. The survey which explores global attitudes toward science is now in its fifth year.
While 91 percent of the respondents in the UAE believe that the workforce needs more skilled workers, such as plumbers, electricians, and carpenters, there is a lack of understanding when it comes to the opportunities on offer for those that take up a skilled trade. Addressing this understanding is critical with the ongoing skills shortage hampering employers across the UAE.
It is not as clear cut as there being less economic incentive – 82 percent of respondents in the UAE believe they would earn the same in a trade as in a career requiring a university degree, although this is significantly above the 71 percent global average. The reservation to take up a trade seems to correlate to a widespread misunderstanding of the progression of a trade career, and how the digital skills required in other industries come into play.
92 percent believe that digital skills will help them grow in their career. It is clear that technology is a core component of the skilled trade sector. Tradespeople are required to embrace digital solutions for monitoring, implementing and performing remote maintenance on a daily basis. With the growing need for skilled workers in the UAE, the government has launched several economic initiatives to boost the country’s competitiveness including investing in technology.
With the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change’s 27th Conference of the Parties (COP 27) approaching, there is an increasing need for corporate entities to shift gears on their ESG strategy and prioritize the well-being of employees and the community.
Laszlo Svinger, Vice-President and Managing Director, MEA at 3M said, “The future generation of workers are concerned about climate change and are keen to foster a culture of inclusivity, diversity, and equality while respecting the planet. To attract them to skilled trades careers, we need to invest more in initiatives that foster sustainable communities, help local economies, and promote science-based environmental education.”
To address the need for more skilled tradespeople in society, 3M has committed to creating 5 million unique STEM and skilled trade roles globally, through its Skilled Trades partnerships. This also includes ‘reverse mentoring’, which sees Gen Z workers help to upskill older employees on digital competencies. To continue growing the respect and attraction of skilled trades jobs, training schemes must put STEM at the heart of this sector
The 3M State of Science Index is an annual study conducted for 3M by a global research firm. It surveys the general populations of 17 countries. Now in its fifth year, the survey tracks the public image of science revealing trend lines over time as to how much people trust, respect and value science and the role it plays in their lives.