Here’s why upskilling is crucial to drive the post-COVID recovery

(Credit: Unsplash)

This article is brought to you thanks to the collaboration of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Robert E. Moritz, Global Chairman, PwC

  • Greater private-public collaboration on large-scale upskilling and reskilling initiatives could boost global GDP by $6.5 trillion and lead to the creation of 5.3 million net new jobs by 2030.
  • Regions and economies that will see the biggest gains are those where the skills gaps are larger and there is the most potential to improve productivity.

A year ago, no one could have anticipated how dramatically everything would change. The way we live. The way we work. The way children go to school. The way we think about the future. Of course, even before COVID-19, the rise of automation and new technologies was transforming global job markets, resulting in the very urgent need for large-scale upskilling and reskilling. But now, after months of unforeseen hardship, this need has become even more important.

The pandemic has been a human tragedy, and the measures taken to tackle it have had a devastating impact on economies, disrupting the livelihoods of millions of people. It has exposed structural weaknesses in institutions and economies and has widened inequalities. People who were already disadvantaged have been hit particularly hard.

We have a pressing societal problem: how to equip people with the skills they need to participate in the economy – now and in the future. As outlined in the World Economic Forum’s latest Future of Jobs Report, half of all employees around the world will need reskilling by 2025 – and that number doesn’t include all the people who are currently not in employment. If we don’t act now, this skills gap will only widen.

With challenges come opportunities. Crisis events, like the pandemic, can and should shape economic thinking and represent a rare but narrow window of opportunity to reflect, reimagine, and reset priorities. So let’s seize this opportunity. We’re calling on governments, business leaders, and educators to join us in a global movement for upskilling.

As you’ll see in our new report – Upskilling for Shared Prosperity – published as part of Davos Agenda Week to mark the first anniversary of the World Economic Forum’s Reskilling Revolution Platform, there’s a clear social and economic case for upskilling. If we commit to giving all people opportunities to build the skills they will need to fully participate in the future workplace, it will, in turn, lead to a prosperity dividend. We’ve used economic modelling to estimate the amount of GDP growth we can expect from a productivity uplift if countries upskill their citizens in line with OECD and industry best practice.

Our key economic findings include the following:

  • Greater private-public collaboration on large-scale upskilling and reskilling initiatives could boost global GDP by $6.5 trillion and create 5.3 million net new jobs by 2030.
  • Economies where the skills gaps are larger could see the biggest gains as a percentage of GDP, including China (7.5%) and India (6.8%).
  • Half of the additional GDP globally is expected to be gained in the business services, consumer services and manufacturing sectors.
  • Sectors that have suffered from low-wage growth and output for decades could reap significant benefits from upskilling. Health and social care could add $380 billion additional GDP through upskilling by 2030.

While the data clearly supports a need for upskilling, we also recognize that GDP alone doesn’t give a complete picture of how an economy is doing. It doesn’t show, for example, the extent to which people have good, fulfilling jobs and which parts of the population are excluded. That’s why the World Economic Forum is working on a project to address this issue by creating a Dashboard for the New Economy.

The top 10 skills of 2025

Preparing people for the jobs of tomorrow is no easy task. There are challenges such as the disconnect between current education programmes and the skills which employers need now and in the future. The development of transferable skills such as critical thinking and creativity is crucial to helping people prepare not only to meet the workplace demands of today but also for those of tomorrow.

Our report also demonstrates the broader advantages of developing good jobs – work that is safe, paid fairly, reasonably secure and motivating, and that emphasizes the uniquely human skills and traits of workers, thus delivering higher levels of productivity.

We know what we need from businesses, policymakers, and educators, and we have examples of successful collaborations that can be replicated and scaled. We know that, together, we can think boldly, beyond the boundaries of today, to reimagine our economic and social systems.

Here are four ways that we can work together to start turning this crisis into an opportunity for change:

1. Governments, businesses, and education providers should work together to build a strong and interconnected ecosystem committed to a comprehensive upskilling agenda.

2. Governments should adopt an agile approach to driving national upskilling initiatives, working with businesses, non-profits and the education sector, such as providing incentives to create jobs in the green economy and by supporting technology innovation.

3. Businesses will need to anchor upskilling and workforce investment as a core business principle and make time-bound pledges to act.

4. Educators should reimagine education and embrace lifelong learning to ensure everyone has the opportunity to participate in the future of work.

Our report is a call to action. A call for leaders from across sectors and geographies to work together to turn this crisis into an opportunity. If we are to realize the ambitions set out in this report, and effectively close the global skills gap, it will mean pulling on a series of levers that are all underpinned by public-private cooperation: lifelong learning, proactive redeployment and re-employment of people, funding, and the ability to anticipate what skills are needed in the jobs market. We must address both the supply and demand sides — upskilling people and having good jobs ready for prepared workers. This will necessitate collaboration and commitment among governments, businesses, and educators.

While the challenges are large, they are not insurmountable. Because in times of great crises, we can respond with great purpose. It’s time to seize the opportunity before us and create lasting change for generations to come.

the sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

During the coronavirus pandemic, we must fight for LGBTQ rights more than ever

Final preparations for DCX and IFRA Expo 2019, in association with The European Sting

How two colossal Assyrian icons were recreated using digital tech

Libya: EU efforts should focus on protecting migrants, MEPs say

Difficulties of vaccination against COVID-19

EU takes again positive action on migration crisis while Turkey asks for dear favors in exchange for cooperation

Project Manager – 2024

Social media and the lack of information for blood donation

Commission welcomes provisional agreement on the European Climate Law

The EU to bear the cost of eventual sanctions against Russia

Saudi woman seeking asylum in Thailand ‘now in a secure place’ says UNHCR

A 550 km-long mass of rotting seaweed is heading for Mexico’s pristine beaches

Lack of investment and ambition means Youth Guarantee not reaching potential

This is the life of a refugee: the constant destruction and construction of dreams every day

This is where people live the longest in the EU

Nicaragua ‘crisis’ still cause for concern amid murder, torture allegations: Bachelet

This is our chance to completely redefine the meaning of work

European Green Deal: Commission presents actions to boost organic production

Green Deal: measures to step up the fight against global deforestation

These are the countries where most adults still don’t have a smartphone

It’s just electronic cigarette, don’t worry?

Historian Niall Ferguson on what the pandemic means for the global economy, geopolitics – and parties

Coronavirus response: Commission welcomes agreement on crucial VAT relief for vaccines and testing kits

Portuguese Presidency outlines priorities to EP committees

Romanian Presidency priorities discussed in committees

EU is now giving Google new monopolies to the detriment of European citizens and Internet companies

Mexico: UN chief saddened by pipeline blast in which dozens were killed

The 28 EU leaders show contempt for the European Elections results

Thursday’s Daily Brief: ambulance attack in Libya, #GlobalGoals defenders, human rights in Cambodia, Swine Fever

Pay Transparency: Commission proposes measures to ensure equal pay for equal work

This is how drones and other ‘tradetech’ are transforming international trade

Make no mistake: the purpose of business is to serve society

These are the top countries for travel and tourism in 2019

Rare Disease Day: a new EU platform to support better diagnosis and treatment

Spanish and Polish voters are crying out for an imminent European change while US urge now Germany to change route

EU co-ordinating the urgent delivery of COVID-19 vaccines to Moldova

Why global collaboration is needed to protect against a new generation of cyber threats

Does upgrading our minds mean losing the spark of genius?

This Brooklyn farm company is training a new generation of urban farmers

Countries are piling on record amounts of debt amid COVID-19. Here’s what that means

A brief history of cryptography and why it matters

Yemen: €95 million in EU humanitarian aid for people threatened by conflict and famine

Parliament: No consent to EU budget until €11.2 billion unpaid bills are settled

Chinese tech investors are turning towards MENA. Here’s why

Can Obama attract Iran close to the US sphere of influence?

How our Europe will regain its strength: op-ed by Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission

From underestimation to valorization: how mobile technology is transforming global health

The Khashoggi affair: A global complot staged behind closed doors

Safe spaces offer security and dignity for youth, and help make the world ‘better for all’: Guterres

Smart city experts should be looking to emerging markets. Here’s why

Brazil identifies a clear pathway for aligning its transfer pricing framework with the OECD standard

The public health system in Brazil as a promoter of sexual and reproductive health and rights: how does it help in the fight against HIV/AIDS?

Mountains matter, especially if you’re young, UN declares

At G20 Summit OECD’s Gurría says collective action vital to tackle global challenges

Top UN court orders Myanmar to protect Rohingya from genocide

How fungi could save the world

Why South Africa is on a path of economic renewal

Rule of Law: Commission launches infringement procedure to protect the independence of the Polish Supreme Court

Supply chains are on the cusp of a data-fed revolution. Here’s how businesses can succeed.

Global warming: our responsibility

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s