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Green Jobs Boom: UAE Sees Surge in Sustainability Roles Ahead of COP28

With the UAE designating 2023 as the 'Year of Sustainability,' green job opportunities have surged across sectors. As COP28 approaches, these sustainability roles are witnessing remarkable growth.


Green Jobs Boom: UAE Sees Surge in Sustainability Roles Ahead of COP28

The UAE's commitment to sustainability and the upcoming COP28 event have triggered a remarkable surge in demand for sustainability-related jobs. Sectors such as packaging, healthcare, hospitality, automotive, banking, and financial services are at the forefront of this green jobs boom.


As the world anticipates the largest climate change gathering, COP28, the recruitment landscape in the UAE is evolving at an unprecedented pace. With over 250 sustainability-related jobs created for this landmark event, the UAE is positioning itself as a global hub for sustainability and environmental expertise. COP28, scheduled to take place in Dubai from November 30 to December 12, will bring together more than 80,000 delegates for discussions, seminars, and high-level meetings aimed at propelling international efforts to combat climate change.


Zara Qureshi, Principal Consultant at Robert Walters Dubai, emphasized the universal commitment to environmental and sustainability improvement in the UAE. "There isn't a single sector that is not looking to improve their environmental or sustainability credentials in the UAE – and with the increase in job roles on the market will come an increase in international talent and salary growth," Qureshi noted.


The growing demand for professionals in the environmental field is evident by the substantial increase in job openings. Over the past year, there has been a notable 26 percent increase in professionals with environmental backgrounds coming to the UAE. Currently, more than 35,000 professionals in the UAE list sustainability and environmental compliance as their primary skills.


Green Jobs Boom: UAE Sees Surge in Sustainability Roles Ahead of COP28

The UAE's vibrant job market for sustainability professionals has seen substantial growth in various sectors. The packaging industry leads the pack, witnessing an impressive 79 percent increase in sustainability job roles. Healthcare follows closely with a 79 percent surge, while the hospitality sector experiences a 64 percent increase. The automotive, banking, and financial sectors also play a significant role, each seeing growth rates of 61 percent and 54 percent, respectively. Other sectors experiencing the green jobs boom include cosmetics and beauty, events, food and beverages, luxury goods, jewelry, and law.


This upsurge in the demand for sustainability roles is not surprising, given the UAE's longstanding commitment to diversifying its income streams away from oil. The presence of numerous international firms dedicated to sustainability excellence and the UAE's aspiration to become a global hub for green products and technologies further fuel the demand for sustainability professionals. These developments position the UAE as a fast-track contender for global leadership in the burgeoning green economy.


Looking ahead to COP28, the organizers recognized the need for specialized talent to manage the event. Robert Walters was engaged in June 2022 to recruit the skilled professionals required for this high-profile gathering. The unique nature of these roles demands individuals who are not only experts in their respective fields but are also well-connected and passionately dedicated to the cause.


Zara Qureshi shared insights into their distinctive recruitment approach for COP28, which involved engaging with former UN and government officials and conducting an extensive international search. So far, they have successfully placed approximately one-third of the 250-plus professionals essential for delivering COP28.


As the UAE positions itself as a sustainability powerhouse and prepares to host COP28, the surge in green job opportunities showcases the nation's unwavering commitment to tackling climate change and building a greener, more sustainable future.


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