The mismatch between supply and demand of skills will increase according to projections. At a global level, projections show that by 2020 the global economy will run short of 40 million workers with a tertiary education and 45 million workers with a secondary education in developing economies, while there will be 95 million more low-skilled workers than needed. If just a fraction of the demand could be met by updating the skills of a fraction of the low skilled workers, it would have a tremendous effect on the economy and on the lives of the people concerned for the rest of their lives.
A FLEXIBLE MINDSET
Globally we are locked into a mindset of perceiving tertiary education as better than hands-on professions. However, taking a more flexible attitude towards education can help bridge the skills gap. Education for a changing labour market needs to be flexible, giving youth the ability to learn skills in general or learn how to learn more when needed. Practical tools and challenges can update skills with great benefits for business, society, and youth. To create a more adjustable education system, we need to foster closer relations between employers, education providers, and youth to close the skills gap. This will both help youths to make educational choices informed by labour market demands and support efforts to upskill and adjust competencies to meet the ever-changing demands of the labour market.
BUSINESS – A KEY PLAYER
Businesses are uniquely positioned to provide youth with the employable skills needed to enter the labour market. Governments can incentivise business to offer apprenticeships and on-the-job training by re-thinking unemployment benefits, so businesses are compensated when they offer ‘job training’ to unemployed youth. It is a way for business to test potential future employees and develop a skills pipeline. Vocational training options in the informal sector are, in some parts of the world, an avenue to learn practical skills, which in turn will increase employability.
The development of e-learning programs by business is also a true game changer. The right content using easily accessible e-learning technology can be a driver to upskill and resell youth worldwide. Business can tap into an e-learning market growing rapidly within an increasingly connected world. It requires a collaborative approach to education, vocational training, on the job competence building, and skills development in formal institutions (universities and schools) and jobs.
MATCHING SKILLS DEMAND AND SUPPLY
Enhancing the links between business and formal education can enrich the business ecosystem and help more ideas blossom, launch more job-creating start-ups, and help more companies find skilled labour and innovations. Businesses are redesigning work at such high speed that educational institutions are finding it difficult to adapt accordingly. This opens an opportunity for those who can facilitate closer collaboration between business and educational institutions on how to manage on-going adaptation of curricula in response to the shifting competences demanded by businesses. Developing five-year skills forecasts at the level of businesses will help guide both educational institutions and youth in the shifting skills demands on the labour market.
An avenue for many youths to the labour market goes via upskilling, reskilling or adjustment of competencies through apprenticeships, e-learning or vocational training to the benefit of business and youth. The opportunity addresses the broken school-to-work pipeline by business helping to cultivate the next generation of workers through more collaboration between education and business. Bringing business closer into discussions about education has the potential to ensure a more precise match between skills supply and demand.
Percent are undereducated in Sub Saharan Africa.
Percent are overeducated in Latin America and Caribbean.
Times higher unemployment among poorly educated.
Ecole 42’s mission is to train youth in the field of computer science. Ecole 42 will create 1,000 jobs directly per year.
Location: France See this solution
Through the use of technology, Proacceso reduces the digital divide and provides quality education to low-income communities.
MentorConnect provides a platform for Mentor-Protégé interaction and relationship, helping youth develop their skills.
Location: Nigeria See this solution
Youth Guarantee is a governmental initiative to offer youth a job, apprenticeship or education within 4 months of unemployment.
Location: EU See this solution
ILO-FAO agricultural employment project aims to create 3000 decent jobs for rural youths while tackling nutritional deficiencies.
Location: Zambia See this solution
Via IMPACT, youth become community leaders by solving community problems while learning life and professional skills in the process.
Location: Global See this solution
By helping youths complete education, the Red Cross’s digital tutoring increases employability.
Location: Global See this solution
Through paid, course-related traineeships in over 80 countries, IAESTE helps students get a competitive edge in the global market.
Location: Global See this solution
Among all opportunities, “Closing the Skills Gap” comes in third on the overall opportunity ranking. It is one of this year’s absolute favourites and, together with the digital labour market, it sends a strong signal that opportunities to address the risk of a wasted generation to unemployment are seen to hold great benefits for society.
In Europe “Closing the Skills Gap” it is the top opportunity and in North America it is the runner up of all opportunities. The regions of South America and MENA have the lowest levels of belief in this opportunity (see figure on benefits and capacity). For the MENA region capacity
to pursue this opportunity is rated strikingly low, even though, respondents in the region see societal benefits stemming from the opportunity. There is agreement across all regions that we do have the technology at hand to make this opportunity real – except for the MENA region.
For very high HDI countries it is the most preferred opportunity out of all opportunities and also in the top range when assessed by respondents aged above thirty years.
Both manufacturing, service and the other business sectors have assessed this opportunity to be the one that will affect their business the most of all opportunities. “Closing the Skills Gap” is also ranked high by the financial and governmental sector. The financial sector and other business sector have perceived this opportunity to be the one they will most likely pursue new business opportunities within, and the other business sectors also have this opportunity among the top rated for new business. It is the opportunity which is perceived by business to hold the greatest new market potentials of them all.
Perceived benefits from pursuing this opportunity (x), and capacity to do so (y), World and geographic regions. Scale goes from -10 to +10.