Skills Gap Challenges Youth Worldwide, Unicef Finds

LONDON – A poll by Unicef has found that a third of young people around the world feel their current education system isn’t preparing them with skills they will need to get jobs.

And, in a separate poll, PwC found than nearly three-quarters of CEOs are concerned about finding workers the skills needed to expand business.

Over the next three years, the two organizations will partner to support research on the global skills gap and to develop, expand and fund education and skills-training programs.

“Young people are telling us they want digital and transferable skills to succeed in the workplace of the future,” Unicef Executive Director Henrietta Fore said in a statement. “This crucial need can only be met through the contributions of public and private partners around the globe. That is why we are working with partners like PwC to provide opportunities for personal growth and prosperity for young people everywhere.”

The Unicef poll was conducted through U-Report in February and received 40,000 respondents from 150 countries. India (43% of responses) and South Africa (26%) had the most respondents. Poll data is representative of responses and is not statistically weighted.

Each month, 10 million people reach working age, most of them in low- and middle-income countries. In those countries, it takes and average of 18 months to enter the workforce and 4 1/2 years to find “decent jobs.” If the problem goes unaddressed, PwC and Unicef say, between 20% and 40% of jobs currently held by those 16 to 24 are at risk of automation by the mid-2030s.

In its 23rd annual Global CEO Survey, PwC found 53% of CEOs around the world believe the rate of global economic growth will decline this year, marking the first time in the survey’s history that figure has been more than half. And only 27% of CEOs said they are “very confident” in the potential for revenue growth in the coming year, its lowest level since 2009. Finally, only 18% of organizations say they’ve made significant progress in establishing an ups killing program.

“We believe business has a responsibility to help address the upskilling challenge for all of our stakeholders, including the communities in which we live and work and all of their citizens. It also makes business sense: in PwC’s latest Global CEO Survey, three quarters of CEOs said the lack of available skills is a major concern and risk. Many of the people who need upskilling the most have the least access to opportunities,” said Bob Moritz, chairman of the PwC Network.

PwC and Unicef will support the World Economic Forum’s Reskilling Revolution Platform, which aims to develop paths to jobs, education and skills to 1 billion people over the next decade.

Pictured: Workers monitor production at Pohang Steelworks in South Korea. Image via Worldsteel / Seong Joon Cho.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.