Are Skills Gaps Global?

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The World Economic Forum recently issued The Future of Jobs Report 2018.  The report is based largely on the views of business executives  – mainly Chief Human Resources Officers in 20 countries. 

One of the key questions relates to what the authors call “emerging skills.” These are defined as “the expected evolution of workforce skills demand over the 2018-2022 period.”  The list illustrates the skills most frequently cited by survey respondents from companies operating in each country.

The list of most demanded skills is unsurprising. What I find interesting is that perceived skills needs are virtually identical for emerging markets and industrialized countries. This is likely largely a reflection of the corporations surveyed, many if not most of which operate across a global geographic spectrum. Nevertheless, the clear message is that no matter where in today’s – and even more so tomorrow’s –world, good jobs require similar types of skills. Also striking is the vast predominance of “soft” skills (as opposed to technical skills) in what companies are most interested in finding.

The disconnect between these demands and today’s education systems at all levels and in most countries suggests that massive change is called for in the ways young people are educated.

Source:  World Economic Forum, The Future of Jobs Report, 2018., Centre for New Economy and Society., Geneva, Switzerland:

http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_Future_of_Jobs_2018.pdf


Guy Pfeffermann is the Founder of and Board Member at the Global Business School Network. He is also the President of Management Sciences for Wildlife Conservancies (MSWC).

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