Experts and businesses on Saturday stressed the need for innovative and modern skills for the country’s workforce saying that technology would cater to the future job nature as the COVID-19 outbreak has changed the global economic and employment situations.
The new employment generation now requires future compatibility with robotics, technology adaptation, digital data literacy, re-skilling and up-skilling and adequate soft skills, they said in a webinar titled ‘New Jobs and Skill for Future Business’ arranged by the Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
‘For future jobs, there should be eight must-have skills like adaptability and flexibility, tech orientation, creativity and innovation, data literacy, critical thinking, digital skills, leadership and emotional intelligence as technology will cater to the future job nature,’ said M Masrur Reaz, chairman of Policy Exchange.
He suggested long-term skill strategy, public-private partnership, regulatory reforms, industry partnership, financing skills programmes and skills training for women.
Masrur also urged for modernising trade and investment environment, strengthening the quality of jobs and improving policies.
He said that quality of jobs was more important for Bangladesh as the country had a vision to be graduated into an upper middle-income status in near future.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the global growth fell down to 4.4 per cent in 2020 and 50 per cent of the global small and medium enterprises is facing challenges to survive, he said.
Masrur hoped that amid the economic recovery activities and new normal situations, 3.1 million new jobs might be created in the country by 2021.
DCCI president Shams Mahmud said that most of the employers believed that critical thinking and problem-solving skills would grow in prominence and 50 per cent of the employees needed re-skilling by 2025.
Despite having a demographic dividend, Bangladesh has skilled workforce shortage in local and overseas employment and 12.3 per cent youth unemployment, he said.
The DCCI president said that the nature and demand for skills on the global job market were shifting due to global changes and acceleration of disruptive technologies.
Shams recommended strengthening industry-academia collaboration to orient emerging skills and redesign the education curricula based on market demand and arranging internationally accredited skills development trainings to meet the skills requirements of overseas skilled employment.
Tuomo Poutiainen, country director of the International Labour Organisation, underscored a framed job strategy and said that to grab the future job market bold action needed to be taken to generate a skilled workforce.
He stressed innovation and entrepreneurship development.
Md Ashadul Islam, senior secretary to the finance ministry, said that growth without employment generation would not be sustainable and the government was giving priority to right skills with enabling environment.
‘We need to rethink the policy dimension due to the COVID-19 situation. Inevitable technology adaptation is now the demand of the day,’ he said.
Ashadul also said that Bangladesh would have to be prepared for future technology shift to accommodate job creation.
Sudipto Mukerjee, resident representative of the UNDP, urged for inclusive and equal growth in Bangladesh.
He also stressed vocational and technical trainings for Bangladeshi youth.
Zaki Uz Zaman, country representative of UNIDO, said that Bangladeshi youths were very creative and they should explore the potential of the global block-chain arena.
‘Connectivity between secondary education and training is very important. Moreover, curriculum development should be in line with the demand of industry,’ UNICEF Bangladesh programme manager Marianne Oehlers said.
She said that data connectivity, ICT knowledge, adequate training for re-skilling and up-skilling were some of the areas all should work together to address.
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