How to fill the looming skills gap

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There are two fundamental truths about the workforces of today and tomorrow: the first is that having the right skills is essential; and, second, too many young people around the world struggle to access the skills they’ll need to succeed.

But this isn’t just a social problem or a potential political problem. This mismatch of skills can throw a wrench into well-conceived business strategies. “Organizations are wanting to do everything that is new and different from what they have been doing in the past…doing things that others aren’t doing,” said Chaitali Mukherjee, PwC India people and organization lead partner, in episode 10 of our Take on Tomorrow podcast. “And who’s going to do that for you? It’s your workforce.”

The onus lies in no small part on businesses to define and help build those skills, noted Nadi Albino, deputy director of partnerships at Generation Unlimited, a public–private–youth partnership created by the United Nations. “The private sector has to be at the table,” she said. “If the private sector is not involved, along with the governments, ensuring what kind of skills are needed as part of the curriculum, then you see what we are seeing in the job market now: a massive mismatch of skills.”

Once businesses define the skills they anticipate they’ll need, they have to work with institutions and partners to develop the trainings and courses that can build those skills. “At Generation Unlimited, we are open to working with all partners who would like to work with us in terms of curating, designing those skills,” Albino added.

And what are some of those key skills? “It would basically start from cognitive ability, analytical skills…[and the] ability to create insights,” Mukherjee said. “Along with that, empathy, digital capabilities, mindset, resilience, and, of course, an attitude towards good work.”

But it’s not simply a matter of young people taking on the lessons that are taught to them in the classroom. Businesses have a great deal to learn about the goals and motivations of their future workers, Albino noted. “Are the corporates really listening to what the youth are saying about today’s world?” she asked. “Are they taking action to address some of those challenges that are being raised?”

Are the corporates really listening to what the youth are saying about today’s world?”

Listen to the podcast in its entirety here.



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