Digital skills are increasingly in demand in Asia and the Pacific, with 75% of employers in four countries reporting an increase in demand for new hires with digital skills over the past 5 years, according to a new report joint venture between the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and LinkedIn.
Launched today, Digital Jobs and Digital Skills: A Shifting Landscape in Asia and the Pacific highlights how essential basic digital literacy is now essential, and those with higher digital skills stand to benefit more. The study, which finds digital hiring has been highly resilient during the pandemic, is the result of a partnership between ADB and LinkedIn. The report provides relevant, data-driven information to governments, industry and the international community on changes in the job, skills and educational markets.
“The digital economy in Asia and the Pacific is growing at high speed, with e-commerce expected to reach $2 trillion by 2025. As digital transformation reshapes jobs in the region, investment is urgently needed in digital skills and talents,” said Bruno Carrasco, Director General of the AfDB’s Sustainable Development and Climate Change Department. “As digital skills and credentials grow in importance, we need to ensure that education systems contribute to closing the digital divide for disadvantaged or marginalized people, not widening it.
According to the survey, most employers in Bangladesh, India, Indonesia and the Philippines now consider digital skills such as proficiency in collaboration tools or basic internet skills for commerce as essential job skills. Advanced skills such as coding and programming are gaining ground. Employers surveyed required that 8 of the last 10 candidates hired in the past year have at least basic digital knowledge and skills, and that 4 of the last 10 hires have advanced digital skills.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a sea change in the way people work. Digital transformation has driven demand for digital jobs and digital skills, and we know that will continue,” said LinkedIn Vice President, Regional General Counsel and Head of Public Policy, APAC. , Dave Woodward. “It’s essential that companies take a skills-based approach to recruiting and developing talent. Workers must also cultivate a growth mindset and embrace lifelong learning. This is how we will continue to create opportunity for every member of the global workforce.”
As the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted labor markets, the study revealed increased demand for skilled people to help companies accelerate their digital transformation, and unprecedented growth in e-learning. Eighty-nine percent of survey respondents agreed that digital degrees will become an essential part of higher education. Most believe that digital degrees will complement traditional qualifications and be important for entry-level positions in key sectors.
The AfDB partners with its developing member countries in Asia and the Pacific to improve the quality of technical training institutions and skills development programs. The bank aims to expand its education operations from the current 5% investments to around 10% by 2024.