Business leaders must act to prepare young people for jobs of tomorrow, says report

Youth Skills For Employment 1
In Jordan, two adolescent girls use a cellphone outside a solar kiosk in the Za’atari camp for Syrian refugees (UNICEF / Herwig)

Sarah Brown, Technology and education, The Global Business Coalition for Education (GBC-Education), Theirworld, Youth skills

Emerging technologies are transforming workforce needs - and many youth lack the skills needed, say Deloitte and the Global Business Coalition for Education.

Almost two billion young people are at risk of missing out on jobs of the future – unless the global business community shows leadership and comes up with new solutions.

That’s the stark warning in a new report about preparing tomorrow’s workforce when change is happening so rapidly.

It says the Fourth Industrial Revolution and emerging technologies – such as robotics, artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things – are transforming the type of work people do and how it is done. Many young people are being left behind and lack the skills needed.

The report is published by Deloitte Global and the Global Business Coalition for Education, a network of more than 150 companies.

“When it comes to addressing the opportunities and challenges of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, I believe we need a new mindset for action to ensure we are preparing now for the workforce of the future,” said David Cruickshank, Deloitte Global Chairman. 

“This means that business has to play a leading role by not only defining and communicating what skills are needed in the future – but also by working side by side with educators, governments and non-profits to ensure our future employees are receiving the education necessary to compete and succeed in a workforce facing massive technological disruption.”

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Girls learn computer skills at one of Theirworld’s Code Clubs in Mbagala, Tanzania (Theirworld / Mticka Albas)

Sarah Brown, Executive Chair of the Global Business Coalition for Education and President of Theirworld, said: “If we can find ways to enhance young people’s ability to harness these technologies through critical thinking and creativity we will lay the foundations of success for millions of young people. 

“At the heart of the issue is quality education and training. And business is a critical part of the solution.”

The report – Preparing Tomorrow’s Workforce for the Fourth Industrial Revolution – carried out research into what skills will be required for youth to succeed.

Four skills that emerged are:

  • Workforce readiness. Basic skills such as time management, personal presentation and attendance are critical to entering the workforce.
  • Soft skills. As humans increasingly work alongside robots, uniquely human skills – such as creativity, complex problem solving, emotional intelligence and critical thinking – will be irreplaceable by machines.
  • Technical skills. New employment opportunities are being created through technology. Jobs that are currently going unfilled often require industry-specific technical skills and targeted training.
  • Entrepreneurship. As the gig economy grows, youths’ ability to be innovative, creative and take initiative to launch new ventures will serve them well.
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(UNICEF / Mawa)

Business leaders must consider the challenges in order to to come up with innovative, sustainable solutions.

The report says there are a number of key challenges facing the business community. Financial investment alone will not employ 1.8 billion youth who face being left behind, so new systemwide approaches are needed.

The Global Business Coalition for Education now plans to take forward the report’s specific recommendations through its Youth Skills and Innovation Initiative

It will establish an “action hub” and bring together diverse partners to take action to drive forward and scale new models for youth skills. 

Deloitte is committed to working with leaders from across the business to apply the recommendations to its own programme and support youth around the world to join the workforce of the future.

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