The ILO estimates that 75 million young people are out of work worldwide, representing 40% of the world’s unemployed (ILO, 2012). If estimates of under-employed youth are included, the number would be tripled. Paradoxically, at the same time, there is a critical skills shortage. According to a recent Brookings report (Brookings, 2013), the inability to secure future talent with the right skills not only has become a strategic growth constraint for business that has a direct impact on their bottom line, but is also preventing firms from scaling up operations, meeting demand in new locations and launching new products and services.
The Institute for the Future (IFTF) from the University of Phoenix has identified a series of skills needed – which range from adaptive thinking to new media literacy – for jobs in a world that will be characterised by extreme longevity, smart hi-tech systems, larger and more integrated organisations and a globally more interconnected world. While there is general consensus on the need to build workforce skills to support economic development and to bring about long-term structural changes to a labour market effected by globalisation and technological innovation, the underlying question is: “what skills will be needed for the jobs of the future and how do we make sure individuals are trained in these skills?”. International organisations, regional bodies and governments all highlight the importance of forecasting future skills needs to ensure that education and training systems can adapt and to avoid skill gaps, shortages and mismatches.
The objectives of this research are:
- To identify emerging global trends in the job market, and the factors driving change, in developing countries over the next ten years and beyond, with an emphasis on new and growing job opportunities.
- To analyse the implications of these trends in terms of youth workforce skills: new needs that are emerging, gaps in skills that are apparent or are likely to appear, and the main skills challenges faced by companies as they compete in emerging markets;
- To facilitate discussion on what government, business and education and training systems can do to address these issues in developing countries and ensure that individuals have the appropriate skills for the jobs of the future, including discussion of the role of technology in helping train large numbers of people in the right skills.