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BUSINESS

Investing in digital upskilling, reskilling of APEC's workforce critical, says report

23/02/2021 04:19 PM

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 23 -- Hiring workers with digital skills has grown substantially in the last three years across the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) region, according to a recent report.

The report also highlighted the gap between workforce supply and demand and emphasising the urgent need for member economies to invest in digital upskilling and reskilling of their workforces. 

Research by LinkedIn and Burning Glass Technologies in the APEC Closing the Digital Skills Gap Report-Trends and Insights finds that the digital hiring rate across the region increased three-fold between 2016 and 2019.

While the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a hiring slowdown in the first quarter of 2020, the report saw continued strong demand for digital talent, with a greater than one-fold increase in March 2020 compared to the previous year.

“Digitalisation offers us many opportunities and challenges, the most pressing one is to address and manage the discrepancy between industry and education and training systems, where the former moves and innovates a lot faster than the latter,” APEC human resources and development working group chairman Prof Park Dong Sun said in a statement today.

He added that the COVID-19 has accelerated digital transformation and adoption in almost all aspects of our lives.

“It is extremely critical for policymakers to look into measures to support the upskilling and reskilling of our workforce.”

The report also stressed the importance of reskilling workers in the wake of the pandemic as many are looking for new opportunities, and it is “necessary to have at least baseline digital skills”. It is also critical to equip new workers with digital skills so they can thrive in the workforce.

Moreover, as businesses are forced to adjust to a more digital work environment, workers may need to expand their skillset to be able to work efficiently and effectively from home or other locations, it added.

“Digital skills and remote work have become critical to retaining employment and to economic survival, with occupations requiring higher levels of digital skills more likely to offer remote work opportunities during these challenging times,” said APEC Closing the Digital Skills Gap Forum co-chairman Andrew Tein. 

-- BERNAMA

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