Brazil’s success in reducing poverty and income inequality has been widely reported in recent years.
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Last month, we asked you for your views about whether Vietnam’s workforce is ready for the future, "from rice to robots". Developing a skilled workforce for an industrialized economy by 2020 is one of the stated top priorities of Vietnam, now that it has joined the ranks of middle-income countries. Not surprisingly, education reform was on the minds of members of the Central Committee of the Communist Party during a recent meeting. However, education is also hotly debated by Vietnam’s citizens as seen and heard in an online discussion on human resource development, organized by the World Bank and VietNamNet, a local online newspaper, and by readers of our blog.
Today, employers all over the world report difficulties in finding workers with adequate skills. While much of the focus is on young labor market entrants not acquiring the right set of skills, governments also face the challenge of retooling the skills of their current workforce to reflect a changing economic environment and labor market.
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As a member of the WTO since 2007 and located in the middle of fast-growing East Asia, Vietnam has earned a reputation as a smart place to invest. Its people are a major asset in attracting foreign investors: Vietnam can boast of its comparatively low wages and a large, young and hard-working labor force. Despite Vietnam’s success so far, it remains to be seen whether its workforce is ready for the next phase in the country’s development – to carry forward the transition from a largely agrarian to an industrialized economy. Are Vietnam’s workers ready to move from low to high tech production? From rice to robots?
With contributions from:
-Haja N. Razafinjatovo, Former Minister of Finance and of Education,Madagascar
-Mamadou Ndoye, Former Minister of Education, Senegal
-Dzingai Mutumbuka, Former Minister of Education, Zimbabwe
-Birger Fredriksen, Former Sector Director for Human Development, World Bank, Africa Region
Several former African Ministers of Education attended Workforce Development: What Matters? at the World Bank. The event is part of the System Approach for Better Education Results, Workforce Development initiative (SABER WfD). Below are key takeaway messages from these former ministers regarding the initiative and the challenges of workforce development, particularly in Africa.
WfD is a recognized global challenge. Countries at all levels of development are struggling to address the dual challenge of producing the skills required to achieve sustained economic growth in a rapidly changing global economy, and generating employment both for young people joining the labor force and for workers in declining industries.
(Last week, I posted: “Wanted: Jobs and your questions about how to find them” on this blog. We received dozens of questions back through social media. Lars Sondergaard, a World Bank expert on education, answered some of them in a video and now he gets to a few more here. He throws out some questions of his own and would love to hear back from you. — Anne Elicaño)
Anonymous asked through the blog: “I was wondering about job outlook for chemical and mechanical engineers in the future”
If you are just about to graduate as an engineer and worry whether you will be able to find a job, I have some good news: in most countries, too few students study engineering relative to the jobs available with the results that engineering graduates tend to have an easier time finding employment than their peers. A lot is written about this vibrant demand, check out this article in Forbes about the demand for engineers (or the World Bank’s “Putting Higher Education to Work: Skills and Research for Growth”)
Earlier this week I asked you to send us your questions about the link between jobs and skills --which should I acquire to make it in the current job environment? Thanks for all the replies --there were so many and so interesting that Lars Sondergaard, our expert, will address in a separate blog post next week the ones that couldn't make it into the video interview. Stay tuned!
|Lars Sondergaard will answer 5 of your questions in a video|
Use social media to ask the World Bank about the type of skills and education that are needed in today’s global economy.
The global economic recession has made the search for a good, stable job even more significant. In Asia, where I’m from, jobs have always been foremost in young people’s minds because of the harsh conditions brought about by social and economic inequality or, if you’re not from a developing country, the previous generations’ memory of it. We don’t have an equivalent to a “gap year” to take time out between the life stages of high school and university to travel.
What can make a person more employable? Policymakers say that having the right skills and good education largely have something to do with that. It’s not just about being able to go to school. In Thailand and some other countries, schools are linking with companies so that students can enhance the skills their future employers needs. A World Bank report, Putting Higher Education to Work: Skills and Research for Growth, also recommends investing more in research and scholarships, prioritizing underfunded but important subjects like engineering and sciences, and improving the management of public universities.
Have your say
Do you have a question about the effect of the recession on joblessness in your region? Or the type of skills most needed by the market?
We’re asking an expert on education, Lars Sondergaard, to take questions in a video interview that we’ll post at the end of this week.
Here’s how to get involved:
So what are you waiting for? Ask now and share with your friends!
Youthink! asked people on Facebook and Twitter to weigh in on how schools prepare students for the jobs they seek. Take a look at what is happening around skills and innovation in Thailand.
Persistently high unemployment rates continue to trouble policymakers in developed and developing countries alike—but the recent Job Trends report brings some good news. After successive years of disappointing labor market performance, several countries in Eastern Europe may finally be turning the corner. These countries suffered most during the financial crisis, so the recovery in job creation is much needed to boost family incomes. In the rest of the developing world, the headlines are positive even while we see some moderation in employment and wage growth in Latin America and East Asia.
I have two concerns at this stage. I suspect most observers of the world economy share my first concern that the incipient recovery is fragile, given the continuing economic turmoil in Europe. But I am also concerned with what’s happening with specific groups, such as youth and women. I have a hunch that the recovery is and will be uneven with youth, women and the less skilled having a harder time finding jobs—even if aggregate numbers show steady gains. The crisis hit young workers hard, particularly young men, and countries are dealing with long-term consequences. Unfortunately, few countries know what’s happening with groups of workers because the data are not collected routinely or if they are, the results are available only with a relatively long lag time.
Where recent data are available, the story is mixed. Although youth unemployment remains alarmingly high at 20-30 percent,