Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members


According to an article by World Economic Forum, closing the skills gap is a major problem worldwide. Statistics depict that closing the global skills gap could aid the ailing global GDP greatly: It could add as much as US$ 11.5 trillion. To achieve this, training and education systems must keep pace with the changing demands of labor markets. Demographic change and technological disruption are some of the major factors that are affecting the nature of work. Already, many nations have a continually increasing gap between the labour market and skills needed by the workforce. 

Highlighted below are the 4 keys to closing the global skills gap:

  1. Lifelong learning and upskilling
  2. Proactive redeployment and re-employment
  3. Innovative skills funding models
  4. Skills anticipation and job market insight

Life learning and upskilling:  According to an article by IBM,  one must imbibe a culture of lifelong learning. Disruptive technologies like AI and automation means that there is a persistent need to reskill and upskill. Individuals must focus on being responsible for their own self-development. To achieve this, platforms, mediums, and repositories must be created where the process of learning a new skill is highly engaging and personalized with clear learner-focused outcomes.

Proactive redeployment and re-employment: With technological disruption, the nature of jobs is shifting.  Jobs in the future are expected to be more dynamic vis-a-vis the fixed and defined roles that we see today.  Skilled personnel shall put their skills to use in varied projects.  The unique skills and knowledge of an employee shall be put to more effective use.

Burning Glass Technologies was commissioned by The Business-Higher Education Forum (BHEF) to shed light on relevant skills in the job market by using data from an array of more than 150 million unique US job postings, right from 2007: The research identified 14 skills that have become foundational in the new economy, which converge into three interrelated groups: Human Skills, business skills, and digital skills.

Innovative skills funding models:  Different countries have initiated varied skill funding models. For instance, Georgia has set up a new platform, Skills Georgia, under the Accelerator, a public-private agency run as a non-profit organization that will foster innovation in the new generation across key industry verticals. Turkey is launching the Closing the Skills Gap Accelerator that showcases cross-governmental collaboration required for rapid action on skills. 

Skills anticipation and job market insight:Due to the existing skill-gap, businesses are struggling to  garner the right talent whereas governments are finding that economic growth and innovation has slowed down. Many workers may find that they are increasingly unemployable due to the skills gap.  Countries use strategies like anticipating future skills to ensure that they are well-equipped to meet any skills gaps that may arise. Employers, workers, training providers, young people, and policy-makers can make better training and educational choices with a sound skill-anticipation strategy.

The road ahead

 According to a McKinsey article, around 800 million individuals may get displaced by technological disruptions like automation in 2030.  Many would need to switch their occupations and learn new skills. The jobs that would be available in the future would depend on the impact of automation and specific industry demands. It is expected that around 8% of the labor demand will be in new occupations that did not exist before. 

Countries must work proactively to ensure that their current workforce makes a steady transition to new jobs. The countries that fail to do so shall witness reduced wages and increased unemployment. 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members

1 Comment

    • Umang -

    • February 19, 2021 at 10:24 am

    Well written and informative. Yes AI is the elephant in the room we need to address.

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