APAC’s Skills Gap Is Wide, Employees in the Dark

APAC’s Skills Gap Is Wide, Employees in the Dark

The Asia-Pacific region faces a large skills gap in the age of AI, and a “common language and clear classification of skills” is necessary to start fixing the problem.

That’s according to a new report called Bridging the Skills Gap: Fuelling Careers and the Economy in Asia-Pacific from Economist Impact, supported by Google.

The white paper examines reskilling and upskilling in 14 markets in the region: Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam.  

Economist Impact surveyed 1,375 employees from 16 industries and worked with a team of researchers and interviewees, including SkyHive CEO and Co-founder Sean Hinton, as well as SkyHive’s Muneaki Goto, who is also the Representative Director of the Japan Reskilling Initiative.

Among the group’s findings:  

  • About 86 million workers in APAC need to be upskilled or reskilled, generally with digital skills.
  • The aging of the population is adding to the skills shortage. “By 2050, one in four people in APAC will be aged 60 or older, signaling that the population is aging at a pace unmatched elsewhere in the world,” Economist Impact says. The impact is concentrated in certain professions. “Younger populations are not putting up their hand for the fundamental jobs that deliver the fabric of an economy such as nurses, teachers, and social workers,” Hinton says in the report.
  • Multiple countries have "high usage gaps.” In other words, many people have access to a mobile network but do not use the Internet. About 30 percent of the population lacks word processing, email, and Internet skills.  
  • Prospective employees want “green” skills and “green jobs.” But, the report says, “are unsure of how this translates into a career.” Hinton says in the white paper that “green is going to represent a big part of the next five years in terms of job creation."
  • This uncertainty is true not just for green jobs, but for all jobs. Employees often don’t know what skills they need, and some employers don't keep track of what’s required in different roles. Hinton says in the report that this “underscores the need for a comprehensive skills taxonomy that provides a common language and clear classification of skills.”  

Read about the skills gap, and skills intelligence solutions to it, in the free white paper from Economist Impact.

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