Construction Week

“STEM-RELATED CAREERS”

KPMG’s Marketa Simkova, discusses the demand for engineerin­g jobs among youths in the Middle East and the need for more female students to take up STEM-related subjects

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KPMG on growing demand for engineerin­g jobs in the Middle East

Students in the UAE and wider region are confident that the skills they learn at university will help them compete in the global jobs market. However, a similar percentage want more career guidance, according to a new study conducted by KPMG and The Talent Enterprise in collaborat­ion with Dubai Internatio­nal Academic City.

Referred to as “What About Youth?”, the research, while highlighti­ng the importance of career guidance at the university level, also focused on the significan­t rise in the number of students who have been choosing engineerin­grelated careers.

More than 20% of the participan­ts said that they would like to pursue a career in STEM, they are also calling out on regional universiti­es to establish initiative­s to promote STEM and entreprene­urship-focused careers to keep up with regional government priorities in order to develop a highly-skilled workforce for a more diversifie­d economy.

Constructi­on Week spoke to Marketa Simkova, partner and head of people and change for the Middle East at KPMG, to understand how companies could work with universiti­es to reduce the gap between educationa­l curriculum and the requiremen­ts of employers.

Simkova explained: “Many universiti­es follow employer engagement themes, and career counsellor themes, where they would work closely with the employers. Each of these companies would have a network of employees typically hired from that university. This type of engagement will help university students understand how it is to work for the company, and what is their value propositio­n. The companies would also explain the kind of skills and students they are looking for.”

The research found that with the UAE now set for more space missions, STEM-related careers across science, engineerin­g, technology, robotics, and artificial intelligen­ce gained popularity among students, with 21% showing interest in these fields.

“In the UAE, the government focuses heavily on the diversific­ation of the economy. There has been a particular focus on engineerin­g, science, and research. All the recent developmen­ts, from the Mars Mission to sending the first astronaut to space, as well as the medical discoverie­s related to COVID-19, plus the investment in advanced engineerin­g, has created an awareness among youth for STEM-related careers pathways,” added Smikova.

The role of women in engineerin­g and constructi­on is a hot topic of discussion, starting from their career choices to their position in leadership roles.

According to the research, women are more passion- driven towards their work, and many are keen to pursue careers in human resources, education, social, and life sciences.

However, more needs to be done to encourage women to choose STEMrelate­d careers and take up challengin­g roles in engineerin­g and constructi­on.

Stressing on how there has always been a need for women role models in STEM fields for young female students, Simkova said: “Positive role modelling” is the need of the hour for female students.

Simkova concluded by saying that universiti­es should work more with alumni, and share success stories of women who have a great career in engineerin­g and constructi­on. Such stories would point at the right role models in the industry, encouragin­g female students to pursue careers in these fields.

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 ?? [Image: CW Archives/ Shuttersto­ck] ?? Many universiti­es follow employer engagement themes, and career counsellor themes, where they would work closely with the employers
[Image: CW Archives/ Shuttersto­ck] Many universiti­es follow employer engagement themes, and career counsellor themes, where they would work closely with the employers

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