USING big data and analysis, there is no way a nation can just move into the future without an ounce of preparation, unless we are led by fools. That’s my key takeaway from the latest installment of Coursera’s Global Skill Report (GSR) released a few weeks ago.
The report highlights how online learning helped learners across the globe to future-proof themselves from loss of jobs or opportunities due to rapidly changing requirements of different industries.
The first part of the report shows the ranking of different countries. The Philippines ranked 69 of 103 countries in the 2021 Global Skills Report based on three major skills –- Business (competitive, Technology (Emerging) and Data Science (Emerging). Ranking is based on four levels: Cutting-Edge or Countries that are in the top quartile (76th percentile or above), Competitive or Countries that are in the second quartile (51st-75th percentile), Emerging or Countries that are in the third quartile (26th-50th percentile), and Lagging Countries that are in the bottom quartile (25th percentile or below).
We are rank 48 in Business (Competitive) based on the following skills: Accounting (Competitive) Communications (Cutting Edge), Entrepreneurship (Competitive), Finance (Emerging), Human Resources (Emerging), Leadership and Management (Competitive), Marketing (Emerging), Sales (Emerging) and Strategy and Operations (Cutting -Edge).
We are rank 77 in Technology (Emerging) under the following skills: Cloud Computing (Cutting-Edge), Computer Networking (Competitive), Computer Programming (Lagging), Databases (Lagging), Mobile Development (Lagging), Operating Systems (Emerging), Security Engineering (Emerging), Software Engineering (Emerging), Theoretical Computer Science (Lagging), Web Development (Lagging).
We are rank 60 for Data Science (Emerging) with the following skills: Data Analysis (Lagging), Data Management (Lagging), Data Visualization (Lagging). Machine Learning (Emerging), Mathematics (Cutting Edge), Probability and Statistics (Cutting Edge) and Statistical Programming (Competitive).
The GSR cites how the pandemic economy has created a complex landscape that threatens to leave millions of workers ill-prepared for the digital future. In 2020, the pandemic triggered losses equivalent to 255 million full-time jobs and $3.7 trillion of income, making it the most severe recession since the Great Depression of the 1930s. The work losses in 2020 were approximately four times greater than during the global financial crisis in 2009. Many of these jobs will not come back.
The challenge now is for policymakers to have a deeper understanding of the skills that drive sustained employment and economic growth Coursera points out how during the pandemic, the world saw a stark contrast between the massive job losses in hard-hit sectors -- such as tourism, retail, and construction -- and the positive job growth in industries like technology and finance.
It cited a recent study, The Future of Work After Covid-19 by McKinsey Global Institute released February 2021, of eight major economies showing that over 100 million workers -- about one in 16 workers -- will need to find a different occupation by 2030 post-Covid. This is 12-percent more than what was estimated before the pandemic, and up to 25-percent more than was estimated before the pandemic for advanced economies.
It is very clear that growth in economies across the globe is increasingly dependent on skills. While Covid-19 disrupted education systems and jobs worldwide as pointed out by the GSR, the transition to online learning ensured people could learn skills to adapt and rebuild their careers. Workforce development leaders will play a critical role in ensuring these systems can be extended and sustained moving forward. In the Philippines, we need agencies such as the Department of Education, the Commission on Higher Education and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, among other agencies, to seriously focus on skilling.
We must take the current situation as an opportunity to build more inclusive, modern, and scalable workforce and education programs to reskill the millions of workers that have been impacted by the disruption of the pandemic and automation. These training investments will have the potential to support increased competitiveness, innovation, and equity for countries around the world.