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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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Fewer women than men will regain work during COVID-19 recovery

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Generations of progress stands to be lost on women and girls' empowerment during the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo: ILO

Fewer women will regain jobs lost to the COVID-19 pandemic during the recovery period, than men, according to a new study released on Monday by the UN’s labour agency.  

In Building Forward Fairer: Women’s rights to work and at work at the core of the COVID-19 recovery, the International Labour Organization (ILO) highlights that between 2019 and 2020, women’s employment declined by 4.2 per cent globally, representing 54 million jobs, while men suffered a three per cent decline, or 60 million jobs. 

This means that there will be 13 million fewer women in employment this year compared to 2019, but the number of men in work will likely recover to levels seen two years ago. 

This means that only 43 per cent of the world’s working-age women will be employed in 2021, compared to 69 per cent of their male counterparts. 

The ILO paper suggests that women have seen disproportionate job and income losses because they are over-represented in the sectors hit hardest by lockdowns, such as accommodation, food services and manufacturing. 

Regional differences 

Not all regions have been affected in the same way. For example, the study revealed that women’s employment was hit hardest in the Americas, falling by more than nine per cent.  

This was followed by the Arab States at just over four per cent, then Asia-Pacific at 3.8 per cent, Europe at 2.5 per cent and Central Asia at 1.9 per cent. 

In Africa, men’s employment dropped by just 0.1 per cent between 2019 and 2020, while women’s employment decreased by 1.9 per cent. 

Mitigation efforts 

Throughout the pandemic, women faired considerably better in countries that took measures to prevent them from losing their jobs and allowed them to get back into the workforce as early as possible. 

In Chile and Colombia, for example, wage subsidies were applied to new hires, with higher subsidy rates for women.  

And Colombia and Senegal were among those nations which created or strengthened support for women entrepreneurs.  

Meanwhile, in Mexico and Kenya quotas were established to guarantee that women benefited from public employment programmes. 

Building forward 

To address these imbalances, gender-responsive strategies must be at the core of recovery efforts, says the agency. 

It is essential to invest in the care economy because the health, social work and education sectors are important job generators, especially for women, according to ILO. 

Moreover, care leave policies and flexible working arrangements can also encourage a more even division of work at home between women and men. 

The current gender gap can also be tackled by working towards universal access to comprehensive, adequate and sustainable social protection. 

Promoting equal pay for work of equal value is also a potentially decisive and important step. 

Domestic violence and work-related gender-based violence and harassment has worsened during the pandemic – further undermining women’s ability to be in the workforce – and the report highlights the need to eliminate the scourge immediately. 

Promoting women’s participation in decision-making bodies, and more effective social dialogue, would also make a major difference, said ILO. 

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Global electricity demand is growing faster than renewables

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Renewables are expanding quickly but not enough to satisfy a strong rebound in global electricity demand this year, resulting in a sharp rise in the use of coal power that risks pushing carbon dioxide emissions from the electricity sector to record levels next year, says a new report from the International Energy Agency.

After falling by about 1% in 2020 due to the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, global electricity demand is set to grow by close to 5% in 2021 and 4% in 2022 – driven by the global economic recovery – according to the latest edition of the IEA’s semi-annual Electricity Market Report released today. The majority of the increase in electricity demand is expected to come from the Asia Pacific region, primarily China and India.

Based on current policy settings and economic trends, electricity generation from renewables – including hydropower, wind and solar PV – is on track to grow strongly around the world over the next two years – by 8% in 2021 and by more than 6% in 2022. But even with this strong growth, renewables will only be able to meet around half the projected increase in global electricity demand over those two years, according to the new IEA report.

Fossil fuel-based electricity generation is set to cover 45% of additional demand in 2021 and 40% in 2022, with nuclear power accounting for the rest. As a result, carbon emissions from the electricity sector – which fell in both 2019 and 2020 – are forecast to increase by 3.5% in 2021 and by 2.5% in 2022, which would take them to an all-time high.

Renewable growth has exceeded demand growth in only two years: 2019 and 2020. But in those cases, it was largely due to exceptionally slow or declining demand, suggesting that renewables outpacing the rest of the electricity sector is not yet the new normal.

“Renewable power is growing impressively in many parts of the world, but it still isn’t where it needs to be to put us on a path to reaching net-zero emissions by mid-century,” said Keisuke Sadamori, the IEA Director of Energy Markets and Security. “As economies rebound, we’ve seen a surge in electricity generation from fossil fuels. To shift to a sustainable trajectory, we need to massively step up investment in clean energy technologies – especially renewables and energy efficiency.” 

In the pathway set out in IEA’s recent Roadmap to Net Zero by 2050, nearly three-quarters of global emissions reductions between 2020 and 2025 take place in the electricity sector. To achieve this decline, the pathway calls for coal-fired electricity generation to fall by more than 6% a year.

However, coal-fired electricity generation is set to increase by almost 5% this year and by a further 3% in 2022, potentially reaching an all-time high, according to the Electricity Market Report. Gas-fired generation, which declined 2% in 2020, is expected to increase by 1% in 2021 and by nearly 2% in 2022. The growth of gas lags that of coal because it plays a smaller role in the fast-growing economies in the Asia Pacific region and it faces competition from renewables in Europe and North America.

Since the IEA’s last Electricity Market Report in December 2020, extreme cold, heat and drought have caused serious strains and disruptions to electricity systems across the globe – in countries ranging from the United States and Mexico to China and Iraq. In response, the IEA is establishing an Electricity Security Event Scale to track and classify major power outages, based on the duration of the disruption and the number of affected customers. The Texas power crisis in February, where millions of customers were without power for up to four days because of icy weather, was assigned the most severe rating on this scale.

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COVID-19 Crisis Lowers Thailand’s Growth, Continued Support for the Poor Needed

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Thailand’s economy continues to take a heavy toll due to the COVID-19 pandemic and is projected to expand modestly at 2.2 percent in 2021, revised down from the 3.4 percent growth projected in March, according to the World Bank’s latest Thailand Economic Monitor “The Road to Recovery” published today. Continued assistance to the poor and vulnerable, including informal workers, will be necessary as COVID-19 continues to impact Thailand’s economy.

The weaker outlook reflects the impact of the ongoing third wave of the virus on private consumption, and the likelihood that international tourist arrivals will remain very low through the end of 2021. Thailand recorded 40 million tourist arrivals in 2019, but the expected number of tourist arrivals in 2021 has been revised sharply downward from a previous forecast of 4-5 million to just 0.6 million.

“The economic shock associated with COVID-19 has adversely affected employment, incomes, and poverty, but the government’s comprehensive social protection response has been impressive in mitigating its impact,” said Birgit Hansl, World Bank Country Manager for Thailand. “Thailand’s fiscal space is still sufficient to allow supporting measures to protect the poor and most in need in the months to come.”

Thailand has performed relatively well in terms of the scale and speed of its fiscal response. The government expanded what was previously a relatively modest set of cash transfer programs to implement one of the largest such responses to COVID-19 in the world. Preliminary simulations suggest that more than 780,000 additional people could have fallen into poverty in 2020 if the government had not scaled up social assistance.

“The crisis in 2020 demonstrated Thailand’s ability to leverage its robust and universal digital ID, sophisticated and interoperable digital platform, and a number of administrative databases to filter eligibility for new cash transfer programs. Going forward Thailand would need to consolidate these efforts and be better prepared to respond to crisis through setting up a social registry.” said Francesca Lamanna, Senior Economist at the World Bank.

Economic activity is not expected to return to its pre-pandemic levels until 2022, with the GDP growth rate projected to rise to 5.1 percent. However, the pace of recovery will depend on Thailand’s vaccination progress, the effectiveness of fiscal support, and the extent to which international tourism resumes. Exports of goods are expected to support the Thai economy in 2021, due to recovering global demand for automotive parts, electronics, machinery, and agricultural products. Risks are further tilted to the downside as the COVID-19 recovery might be delayed due to new COVID-19 variants becoming resistant to treatments or vaccines.

“Adequate testing-tracing-isolation and further progress on vaccinations will be necessary to avoid the need for lockdowns, spur a sustained increase in domestic mobility and consumption, and allow the country to reopen to foreign tourists,” according to Kiatipong Ariyapruchya, World Bank Senior Economist for Thailand. “In the long-term, reforms that lower trade costs and barriers could help maximize the benefits of the ongoing recovery of global economic activity.”

The report also recommends that the government will need to invest in strengthening Thailand’s social protection system. In the years to come it should be a priority to provide adequate support to vulnerable people, while ensuring that this support is targeted effectively to limit the overall fiscal burden. The crisis also further underscores the need to ensure that the social protection system covers the large informal sector at all times, not only during crises.

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