There is a lack of skills threatening the UAE pharmaceutical sector.

The sector is enjoying massive monetary growth, but it is relying on a diminishing pool of talent to keep momentum.

A panel of experts from TECOM (which includes Dubai’s own DuBiotech) said of the skills shortage: “Analysis of the region’s health sector shows we can expect rapid growth in the coming years. [we have discussed] the challenges, such as a shortage of qualified staff and skilled labour needed to ensure we achieve the potential”.

Pharmaceutical organisations have continued to struggle to locate the talent they need to drive their business forward and meet consumer demands.

However, despite a talent shortage, there are ways for pharma companies to continue to thrive. They must implement robust training and development programmes, focus on infrastructure, and take part in smart recruiting.

In this article, I will cover how UAE pharma companies can help themselves to bridge the skills gap in their organisation.

Why is There a Skills Gap?

The skills gap is not unique to the UAE or the pharma industry; many regions and sectors across the world have struggled to recruit the right level of talent. This is a worry for businesses as it restricts growth and prevents pharmaceutical progress.

In many pharma organisations, there is a lack of regular training for employees, due to several factors, but mainly time constraints.

A lack of available time and focus has caused the infrastructure of some pharma companies to stagnate. Companies would rather employ a candidate who can deliver what they need straight away rather than spending their time training less-skilled employees.

While this might seem like a quick way to meet a business goal, it has created the skills gap which we are now witnessing in the pharma sector.


Training institutes have tended to be more focused on academics, and they have not succeeded in adequately communicating what the industry needs right now.

The sector must bridge the gap between educational institutes and the pharma industry so that candidates from an academic medical background have the real skills they need to be able to perform in the industry as soon as they graduate.

Many highly skilled employees in the pharma sector have achieved their position by working their way up, but there remains a lack of a robust system which ensures pharma employees are equipped with the skills that will drive the sector forward, incorporating new technologies such as AI, robotics and electronic prescribing of controlled substances (EPCS).

To support infrastructure in the UAE pharma sector with a view to bridging the skills gap, the UAE government has launched the Advanced Skills National Programme to empower Emirati youth to develop skills that are needed in the industry right now, and in the future.

The programme focuses on the development of four main areas – necessary skills, competencies, personality traits and specialised skills to provide life-long learning.

The key to closing the pharma skills gap, as highlighted here, is a focus on learning, but what can pharmaceutical companies do in-house to help bridge the skills gap? The answer lies in training.

Regular Training

Within pharma organisations, to close the skills gap, there must be training opportunities available at all levels.

This way, employers can create a culture of learning and development to produce the next generation of skilled pharma talent.

At the recent World Economic Forum (WEF) in China, the UAE government signed on to the WEF’s ‘Closing the Skills Gap 2020’ programme. This programme intends to upscale and equip the future workforce with the skills they need for the Fourth Industrial Revolution by measurable commitments to train, reskill and upskill 10 million employees worldwide.

What does the training programme in your organisation look like? What more can you do to improve the regular training and development of your employees?

A great place to start is personalised training programmes for each employee, where they can take charge of their own learning and become more proficient in the areas they would like to develop.

Smart Recruitment

In addition to training and enhancing infrastructure, pharma companies can work with dedicated recruiters to source the best pharmaceutical talent in the current employment market.

The most talented pharmaceutical employees are in high demand because of their rare skills. When this demographic is not looking for a new role, the only way to access them is through a dedicated pharmaceutical recruiter who has deep industry connections.

Many organisations approach recruiting by focusing on the gaps they currently have but fail to plan for the future.

By recruiting smarter and working with a recruiter who understands the future of the UAE pharmaceutical landscape, you can hire individuals into your organisation who will reduce the skills gap and help drive your business forward.


If what you need for your pharma organisation is highly-skilled individuals, and you have struggled in the past to find them, Kinetic can help.

We are one of the longest-running dedicated pharmaceutical recruitment companies in the UAE, and we have an extensive network of the talent you have been looking for – contact our team today to find out more.

How Kinetic Can Help  

Kinetic source professionals locally and internationally for leading multinational, regional and local Pharmaceutical and Medical Devices companies, including Consumer Healthcare organisations.

If you need help sourcing the best candidates for your pharmaceutical or medical device organisation who will help drive your business forward this year, get in contact with us today.