THE Philippines is third to last in the Asia Pacific Region in terms of skills development for the jobs of the future, and 70th of 102 countries in the Coursera Global Skills Report 2022.

The report stresses that the way we work is changing. Automation and digital technologies are revolutionizing almost every industry, from agriculture to manufacturing. The coronavirus pandemic has transformed what people demand from their working lives. And global instability and inflation mean that a well-paid, secure job that leads to long-term career growth is more important than ever. These transformations are remaking the world’s labor market. By the middle of this decade, an estimated 85 million jobs may disappear, while another 97 million new ones will take their place. Amidst these changes, it can be difficult to know what skills workers need to develop to stay ahead.

The Philippines (67 percent) is competitive in business skills – skills in this domain focus on the practice and day-to-day running of a business. Emerging (29 percent) in technology skills – skills in this domain focus on the creation, maintenance, and scaling of computer systems and software. And lagging (21 percent) in data science skills – skills in this domain focus on capturing and utilizing the data generated within a business for decision-making or powering underlying products and services.

Business skills include accounting, communication, finance, management, and marketing. Accounting is about proper record keeping and communication of financial information for corporations in accordance with government regulations such as auditing and financial accounting. Communication is the practice of discussion between two or more individuals in written or oral forms, including people skills and writing. Finance is focused on the efficient allocation of capital towards investment opportunities under conditions of risk or uncertainty, such as financial ratios and blockchain. Management is about how to set a company’s strategy and coordinate the effort of employees such as people management and business analytics. Marketing is the process of creating relationships with potential and actual customers, allowing businesses to identify how they should present themselves and who they should cater to, such as digital marketing and product placement.

Technology skills include various skills. Computer Networking is the process of creating a digital telecommunications network where connected devices exchange data with each other (cloud computing, Internet of Things). Databases are an organized collection of data, generally stored and accessed electronically from a computer system (relational database, key value database). Operating systems consist of building system software that provides common services for other types of computer programs (mobile app development, programming language).

Security Engineering is a specialized field that focuses on the security aspects in the design of systems that need to be able to deal robustly with possible sources of disruption (Cybersecurity, Cryptography). Software engineering involves applying rigorous principles to the design, development, maintenance, testing, and evaluation of computer software (software architecture and software development). Computer programming is the process that professionals use to write code that instructs how a computer, application or software program performs (JavaScript, Java).

Cloud computing involves delivering computing resources, namely hardware, software, or software development platforms via the internet (software as a service and Kubernetes).

Web Development is the work involved in developing web sites. It can range from developing a simple static page to complex web applications such as e-commerce sites (Angular, HTML and CSS).

Data Management comprises everything related to managing and accessing data for reporting, analysis, and model building, such as Cloud APIs and Hadoop. Mobile development is the process of developing software applications for mobile devices such as mobile phones or tablets (Android Development, iOS Development).

Data science includes data visualization, machine learning, math, statistical programming and statistics. Data Visualization involves the creation and study of visual representations of data to communicate information clearly and efficiently (Tableau, Plotting Data). Machine Learning creates algorithms and statistical models that computer systems can use to perform a specific task without explicit instructions (Multi-Task Learning, Deep Learning). Math is the study of numbers and their relationships, applying these principles to models of real phenomena (Calculus, Linear Algebra). Statistical Programming is the set of programming languages and tools used to create statistical models and algorithms (R, Python). Statistics deals with all aspects of data collection, organization, analysis, interpretation, and presentation (Regression, AB Testing).

The report states that digital skills are the shared language of the modern economy. Not every worker needs to learn how to code, but every worker needs to be literate in digital skills. Three-quarters of workers in a recent survey said that they felt unprepared for jobs in the digital-first economy. As workers reskill, the most popular skills in the last year in the technology and data science domains, respectively, were theoretical computer science along with probability and statistics.

In the Asia Pacific Region where the Philippines belongs, economic challenges make skills even more important. In April, the World Bank highlighted three shocks — the invasion of Ukraine, a slowdown in China, and rate hikes from the US Federal Reserve — that led it to cut its predictions of regional GDP growth from 5.4 percent to 5.28 percent. To weather these difficulties, countries in the region will require high levels of workforce skills proficiency — and business leaders must prioritize human and digital skills. Skill development will become increasingly important as skills, rather than jobs, become the new career currency. Countries that have historically performed well in this area should continue their investments, while workforce leaders in the region may want to look to them as examples.