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India: Step up reform efforts to increase quality jobs and incomes

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India is set for a modest recovery after a loss of momentum, as reforms to simplify taxation, lighten business regulations and upgrade infrastructure start to bear fruit. Further reforms to modernise the economy are now needed to drive the creation of high-quality jobs, as well as measures to improve public services and welfare, according to a new OECD report.

The latest OECD Economic Survey of India notes that while India has greatly expanded its participation in global trade in recent years, private investment remains relatively weak, the employment rate has declined amid a shortage of quality jobs, rural incomes are stagnating, and per-capita income varies considerably across states. 

“India is now well established as a growth champion and a major player in the global economy,” said OECD Chief Economist Laurence Boone, launching the Survey in New Delhi. “However, this slower pace of growth underlines the need to fully implement existing reforms and continue lowering barriers to trade to generate the investment and jobs India needs to raise living standards across the country.”

The Survey sees India’s GDP growth recovering to 6.2% in 2020 and 6.4% in 2021 after dipping to 5.8% in 2019 following several years of robust growth. Restoring growth to the higher levels needed to provide ample jobs and ease inequality will require accelerating the pace of structural reforms to revive investment and exports.

Improving the health of the financial sector, where the share of non-performing loans has declined but remains high, will be key to supporting investment. The Survey recommends speeding up bankruptcy procedures and improving governance in the banking sector.  

India has ramped up its participation in international trade since slashing tariffs in the 1990s. Its share of global goods and services exports reached 2.1% in 2018, up from 0.5% in the early 1990s, thanks to a strong performance in sectors like information technology and pharmaceuticals. Addressing remaining infrastructure bottlenecks by modernising ports and adding roads will be key to boosting India’s competitiveness. Reducing restrictions to services trade imposed by trading partners and by India on imports would further boost trade in services, also giving a lift to manufacturing and the general economy. OECD estimates suggest India would be the biggest beneficiary of a multilateral cut in services trade restrictions. Even without a multilateral agreement, moving alone to overhaul regulations would have a positive impact.

While many millions of Indians have been lifted out of poverty in recent years, too many have no formal employment benefits and little access to finance. Doing more to simplify complex labour laws – many of which discourage hiring by becoming binding as firms grow above stated thresholds – would help raise the share of quality jobs demanded by a fast-growing and well-educated youth population in a country where the vast majority of employment is informal.

The government has made some headway improving access to electricity, drinking water and rural roads. Housing shortages, and poor access to basic amenities, remain acute, particularly in rural areas. Population growth and urbanisation will add to housing pressures already estimated to affect some 40 million households across the country. Developing the currently small rental market could help achieve a pledge to provide a house for all Indians by 2022. Finally, mobilising more revenue from property and personal income taxes could create the fiscal space to raise spending on health, education and social transfers.

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The Reskilling Revolution: Better Skills, Better Jobs, Better Education for a Billion People by 2030

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The World Economic Forum today launches Reskilling Revolution, a multistakeholder initiative aiming to provide better education, new skills and better work to a billion people around the world by 2030.

The Reskilling Revolution platform has been designed to prepare the global workforce with the skills needed to future-proof their careers against the expected displacement of millions of jobs and skills instability as a result of technological change. It is also designed to provide businesses and economies with the skilled labour needed to fulfil the millions of new roles that will be created by the Fourth Industrial Revolution, shifts in the global economy and industrial transitions towards sustainability.

“The best way to foster a more cohesive and inclusive society is to provide everybody with a decent job and income. Here in Davos, we are creating a public-private platform to give one billion people the skills they need in the age of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The scale and urgency of this transformation calls for nothing short of a reskilling revolution,” said Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman, World Economic Forum.

National and industry transformation

In order to effect such systems-wide change, Reskilling Revolution will serve as a platform for connecting and coordinating individual initiatives within specific countries, industries, organizations and schools. At the country-level, the Reskilling Revolution is supported by the governments of India, Oman, Pakistan, the Russian Federation and the United Arab Emirates, which will run Closing the Skills Gap National Accelerators. In addition, the governments of Denmark and Singapore have become learning network champions. During 2020, the number of accelerators will grow to 15, beginning with Bahrain and Brazil at the Annual Meeting 2020.

Additionally, new policy instruments, new forms of financing and new rapid delivery partnerships will join this effort, serving as examples. In the US, the Government has called on companies to commit to the retraining and upskilling of its own workforce through the Pledge to America’s Workers and to date, over 415 private-sector companies have pledged more than 14.5 million career-enhancement opportunities for American workers over the next five years. France’s Mon Compte Formation is the first-of-a-kind individual skills account with an integrated mobile application dedicated to vocational training and lifelong learning. Such combined efforts of the private sector and governments can catalyse better education, skills and jobs for supporting one billion people and serve as global exemplars.

To date, over 415 private-sector companies have pledged more than 14.5 million career-enhancement opportunities for American workers over the next five years. Initiatives like these show that these combined public-private efforts can and will achieve the one billion goal.

In the private sector, a number of companies are already taking coordinated action on workforce transformations through intra- and cross-industry collaborations involving business, trade unions and the training sector. These industry accelerators include: Advanced Manufacturing; Aerospace; Aviation, Travel and Tourism; Consumer; Financial Services; Media, Entertainment and Information; Mining and Metals; Oil and Gas; and Health and Healthcare. By the end of 2020, 15 industries will be engaged.

Technological change, patterns of globalization and the green transition pose great risks to people’s livelihoods. An urgent investment in human capital is needed to revive pathways to social mobility and create a fairer world. By mobilizing industry leaders, government, international organizations, professional networking platforms, online and offline staffing firms and education and training providers, Reskilling Revolution aims to provide better jobs, education and skills to 1 billion people by 2030,” says Saadia Zahidi, Managing Director, New Economy and Society at the World Economic Forum.”

Founding partners, initiatives and coalitions to reach 250 million people

Together, founding partners’ initiatives and coalitions already signed up to Reskilling Revolution have the capability of reaching 250 million people worldwide. The Reskilling Revolution Platform will enable these coalitions and future business-led initiatives to create system-level change or to be scaled up through replication by other organizations. Founding business pledges include:

The Adecco Group aims to support 5 million workers through upskilling and reskilling globally by 2030. The Group’s General Assembly business will play a key role as a founding member of the Skills Consortium of online training and learning providers, as part of the Reskilling Revolution initiative. The Adecco Group Foundation will contribute as founding partner to the HR Valley initiative – a hub of human capital management learning.

Coursera Inc. will be a data partner and a founding member of the Skills Consortium of online training and learning providers hosted by Reskilling Revolution. It has committed to upskilling 10 million global workers by 2030 in high-demand domains of Data Science, Technology, Business and Soft skills.

Infosys is expanding computer science and maker education to K-12 students and teachers across the US, especially among under-represented communities, and will become a founding member of a Skills Consortium of online training and learning providers hosted by Reskilling Revolution.

LinkedIn will be a data partner for the Reskilling Revolution initiative.

ManpowerGroup’s MyPath is enabling hundreds of thousands of people to access high-growth roles by providing accelerated upskilling, on-the-job training and certification, transforming the role of the recruiter to become talent agents, experts in assessment, data and coaching so workers receive the guidance they need for future roles.

PwC and its New World. New Skills. programme will deploy skills to support public-private collaborations through the Reskilling Revolution. It will also help clients prepare their workforces for the digital world, upskill each of its 276,000 people and scale up its community programmes, particularly in areas where there is an acute need.

Salesforce has committed to help train 1 million people with relevant skills and reach 10 million active users on Trailhead, Salesforce’s free online learning platform, within the next five years. Through workforce development initiatives including Trailhead Military, FutureForce and the Pathfinder Program, all powered by Trailhead, anyone can skill-up to learn in-demand skills and earn credentials to land a top job in tech.

International and civil society organizations are also leveraging the Reskilling Revolution Platform to drive change and build new coalitions. This will include the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and Generation Unlimited, a global multisector partnership created to meet the urgent need for expanded education, skill development and employment opportunities for young people aged 10-24. The Education Commission, chaired by Gordon Brown, is committing to support the Reskilling Revolution through teacher workforce, schools and education finance transformation. The NGO iamtheCODE will aim to enable ten million women and girls as coders worldwide by 2030.

The United Arab Emirates will provide seed funding to launch the Reskilling Revolution platform.

Reskilling to jobs of the future

Technological change, industry transitions and globalization are impacting jobs and the skills required within those jobs. The OECD estimates that 1.1 billion jobs are liable to be radically transformed by technology in the next decade. The World Economic Forum predicts an overall net positive between job growth and decline but also finds that skills instability with all jobs will mean that nearly half of core skills are set to change by 2022 alone. Additionally, if current trends continue, the outdated content of education will further exacerbate the skills mismatch in the future. However, with increased predictive power, it has also become easier and faster to understand the in-demand skill and jobs of tomorrow and plan human capital development accordingly.

A World Economic Forum report also released today, Jobs of Tomorrow: Mapping Opportunity in the New Economy, worked with LinkedIn, Coursera Inc. and Burning Glass Technologies to map seven emerging professional clusters and 96 fastest-growing jobs within them. They reflect that both “digital” and “human” factors are driving growth in the professions of tomorrow. The adoption of new technologies is giving rise to greater demand for green economy jobs, roles at the forefront of the data and AI economy and new roles in engineering, cloud computing and product development. On the other hand, emerging professions also reflect the continuing importance of human interaction in the new economy, giving rise to greater demand for care-economy jobs; roles in marketing, sales and content production; as well as roles at the forefront of people and culture. The growth and absolute scale of these opportunities will be determined by the choices and investments made by governments today.

What the leaders are saying

“The United States is honoured to be a leading example of when the public and private sector comes together to prioritize workers and ensure them, their families and our respective economies are prepared for the changing nature of work and the workplace. 1 billion lives will be changed by 2030 through this Reskilling Revolution and the Trump Administration, through its Pledge to America’s Workers, is excited to continue to serve as a catalyst for private-sector engagement worldwide,” said Ivanka Trump, Assistant and Adviser to the President of the United States.

“The largest generation of young people in history is about to inherit the world – and they’re facing a global learning and skills crisis. The private sector must work with governments to help close the skills gap and give young people the ladders of opportunity they need to reach their potential. The possibilities are endless and the need is urgent”, said Henrietta H. Fore, Executive Director, United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF

“Learning ecosystems must be updated to ensure that we are addressing the short-term challenge of skills mismatch in the current workforce and preventing the long-term challenge of future unemployment among the next generation of talent. That is why the United Arab Emirates is proud to make human capital investment a key national priority, and is delighted to be, not only a member of the Closing the Skills Gap Accelerator Network, but also a founding member of the Reskilling Revolution initiative through both public-private partnerships to close national skills gaps and through seed funding for the global platform,” said Ahmad Belhoul, Minister of State for Higher Education and Advanced Skills, United Arab Emirates

“Upskilling is one of the most urgent challenges of our time and to solve it, we need to act together, now. As a major employer in 157 countries around the world, PwC has the scale and experience to make a measurable impact. We have a responsibility to help our people, clients and communities prepare for the future but we can’t succeed on our own. As part of our upskilling efforts, we’re asking everyone to join the World Economic Forum’s Reskilling Revolution platform and us so that we can prepare everyone, everywhere for the digital world”, said Robert E. Moritz, Global Chairman, PwC.

“With new technologies and trends impacting the world of work, companies are facing genuine challenges in recruiting people with the skillsets needed to capture the opportunities ahead. Therefore, in order to equip individuals to successfully participate in the world of work and enable businesses to find the skills they need to be competitive, we must focus on upskilling and reskilling. We fully support a ‘reskilling revolution’ and pledge to upskill and reskill 5 million people globally by 2030”, said Alain Dehaze, Chief Executive Officer, The Adecco Group.

“Our research shows us that jobs emerging in the global economy span a wide range of professions and skills. They will provide opportunities for workers of all backgrounds and educational levels. But for all of the opportunities that the new economy will bring, the stark skills and gender gaps that exist today – especially in these fast-growing and emerging jobs – must be addressed now if we want to ensure that the Fourth Industrial Revolution is an equitable one”, said Allen Blue, Co-Founder and Vice-President, Products, LinkedIn

“I wish that more people, companies and societies would start to invest in skills, reskilling and lifelong learning. Because if we don’t, it will not only hamper businesses and the foundation for our economies. It could undermine our entire societal contract”, said Peter Hummelgaard, Minister for Employment of Denmark

“The global nature of the skills crisis requires institutions to collaborate at an unprecedented scale in order to provide lifelong access to high-quality learning. As part of this coalition, we are excited to work with governments, industry accelerators, and universities around the world to equip the global workforce with the skills needed to advance careers, boost employability and stimulate inclusive economic growth,” said Jeff Maggioncalda, Chief Executive Officer, Coursera Inc.

“We are excited to partner with the World Economic Forum through the Reskilling Revolution initiative. As availability of digital talent continues to be one of the greatest barriers for enterprises to transform, organizations need to nurture a culture that enables talent – across disciplines and skills – to benefit from a continuum of lifelong learning that prepares them for the future of work. We are keen to help drive the transformation”, said Salil Parekh, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, Infosys.

“We have to move towards a Society of Skills, placing lifelong learning, upskilling and reskilling at the core of people, businesses and governments’ interests”, said Muriel Penicaud, Minister of Labour of France

“More than half of companies around the world cannot find the skills they are looking for – almost double what it was a decade ago. And the need for a Skills Revolution – which we predicted four years ago – continues to be the defining challenge of our time. Organizations have to act differently. Creating shareholder value can only be done in conjunction with taking care of employees, customers and communities. And that includes the responsibility to help people learn new skills, adapt for future jobs and to become creators of talent”, said Jonas Prising, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, ManpowerGroup

“We need to make sure the Fourth Industrial Revolution brings everyone along with the education and skills to succeed,” said Marc Benioff, Chairman and Co-Chief Executive Officer of Salesforce. “That’s why as part of the Reskilling Revolution, Salesforce will help train 1 million people with resume-worthy skills and reach 10 million active users on Trailhead, our free online learning platform, within the next five years.” said Marc Benioff, Chairman and Co-Chief Executive Officer Salesforce

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Forgotten Your Password? Not Having One Will Make You Safer

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A new report released by the World Economic Forum finds that freeing ourselves of passwords will actually make us safer and businesses more efficient. Cybercrime is set to cost the global economy $2.9 million every minute in 2020 and some 80% of these attacks are password-related. Knowledge-based authentication – whether with PINs, passwords, passphrases, or whatever we need to remember – is not only a major headache for users, it is costly to maintain. For larger businesses, it is estimated that nearly 50% of IT help desk costs are allocated to password resets, with average annual spend for companies now at over $1 million for staffing alone.

Passwordless authentication does not mean removing all security barriers to our digitalized society. It means harnessing tools such as artificial intelligence and machine learning to save users time and save company money.

“With the growing availability of biometrics and next-generation technology consumers are demanding a better digital experience while wanting to be secure online,” said Adrien Ogee, Project Lead, Platform for Shaping the Future of Cybersecurity and Digital Trust, World Economic Forum. “Better authentication practices are not just possible they are a necessity.”

The report, produced in collaboration with the FIDO Alliance, introduces five top passwordless authentication technologies, ready for implementation by global companies. They are biometrics, behavioural analytics, zero-knowledge proofs, QR codes and security keys.

“Relying on passwords as the primary means for authentication no longer provides the security or user experience that consumers demand,” said Andrew Shikiar, Executive Director and Chief Marketing Officer of the FIDO Alliance. “The path forward is with standards-based, cryptographically secure authentication that keeps login info secure and private, while providing a fundamentally better user experience.”

Passwordless Authentication: The next breakthrough in secure digital transformation is part of the Future of Authentication project led by the Platform for Shaping the Future of Cybersecurity and Digital Trust.

Global enterprises and public bodies can engage in this important strategic issue via the Forum’s Platform for Shaping the Future of Cybersecurity and Digital Trust at https://www.weforum.org/centre-for-cybersecurity.

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Insufficient paid work affects almost half a billion people

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Almost half a billion people are working fewer paid hours than they would like or lack adequate access to paid work, according to a new International Labour Organization (ILO) report.

In addition, the World Employment and Social Outlook: Trends 2020  (WESO) shows that unemployment is projected to increase by around 2.5 million in 2020. Global unemployment has been roughly stable for the last nine years but slowing global economic growth means that, as the global labour force increases, not enough new jobs are being generated to absorb new entrants to the labour market.

“For millions of ordinary people, it’s increasingly difficult to build better lives through work,” said ILO Director-General Guy Ryder. “Persisting and substantial work-related inequalities and exclusion are preventing them from finding decent work and better futures. That’s an extremely serious finding that has profound and worrying implications for social cohesion.”

The WESO shows that the mismatch between labour supply and demand extends beyond unemployment into broader labour underutilization. In addition to the global number of unemployed (188 million), 165 million people don’t have enough paid work and 120 million have either given up actively searching for work or otherwise lack access to the labour market. In total, more than 470 million people worldwide are affected.

It also looks at labour market inequalities. Using new data and estimates it shows that, at the global level, income inequality is higher than previously thought, especially in developing countries.

Worldwide, the share of national income going to labour (rather than to other factors of production) declined substantially between 2004 and 2017, from 54 per cent to 51 per cent, with this economically significant fall being most pronounced in Europe, Central Asia and the Americas. This is more than suggested by previous estimates, the WESO shows.

Moderate or extreme working poverty is expected to edge up in 2020-21 in developing countries, increasing the obstacles to achieving Sustainable Development Goal 1  on eradicating poverty everywhere by 2030. Currently working poverty (defined as earning less than US$3.20 per day in purchasing power parity terms) affects more than 630 million workers, or one in five of the global working population.

Other significant inequalities – defined by gender, age and geographic location – remain stubborn features of current labour markets, the report shows, limiting both individual opportunities and general economic growth. In particular, a staggering 267 million young people (aged 15-24) are not in employment, education or training, and many more endure substandard working conditions.

The report cautions that intensifying trade restrictions and protectionism could have a significant impact on employment, both directly and indirectly.

Looking at economic growth, it finds that the current pace and form of growth is hampering efforts to reduce poverty and improve working conditions in low-income countries. The WESO recommends that the type of growth needs to shift to encourage higher-value added activities, through structural transformation, technological upgrading and diversification.

“Labour underutilization and poor-quality jobs mean our economies and societies are missing out on the potential benefits of a huge pool of human talent,” said the report’s lead author, Stefan Kühn. “We will only find a sustainable, inclusive path of development if we tackle these kinds of labour market inequalities and gaps in access to decent work.”

The annual WESO Trends report analyses key labour market issues, including unemployment, labour underutilisation, working poverty, income inequality, labour income share and factors that exclude people from decent work.

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