Half of all workforces in Bangladesh need re-skilling by 2025: DCCI President

The Covid 19 pandemic situation has changed the global economic and employment scenario as the new employment generation now requires future compatibility with robotics, technology adaptation, digital data literacy, innovative and modern skills, re- skilling and up-skilling and adequate soft skills, speakers urged in a webinar titled “new jobs and skill for future business” arranged by Dhaka Chamber of Commerce & Industry (DCCI) on 21 st November, 2020. DCCI Senior Vice President N K A Mobin, FCA, FCS chaired the webinar.

DCCI President Shams Mahmud in his welcome address said with the 62.7% working aged population, Bangladesh has demographic dividend to leverage accelerated economic growth. World Bank referred about 40% university graduates are unemployed due to skill mismatch. Despite having demographic dividend, Bangladesh has skilled workforce shortage in local and overseas employment and 12.3% youth unemployment. The nature and demand of skills in global job market are shifting due to global change and acceleration of disruptive technologies. He said most employers believe that critical thinking and problem- solving skills will grow in prominence and 50% of all employees need re-skilling by 2025.

Shams Mahmud also urged for improvement of conventional skills to exploit the demographic dividend as our workforce are diverse by skills and education to meet employment needs at home and abroad. On the other hand, many non-traditional ICT backed ventures like online startup, freelancing have emerged contributing new jobs, skills and economy. They must be backed by 4IR technologies such as IOT, Block chain and cloud computing and necessary fiscal and regulatory supports for their sustainable growth.

The DCCI President also recommended to strengthen Industry-academia collaboration to orient emerging skills and redesign the education curricula based on market demand and arranging internationally accredited skills development training to meet the skills requirements of overseas skilled employment. He also suggested for reskilling and up- skilling to equip the workforce due to technology shift with the support of ILO, UNIDO, UNDP, vocational skills building training, education for the low and semi-skilled professionals, provide regulatory support, easy access to finance.

Md. Ashadul Islam, Senior Secretary, Financial Institutions Division, Ministry of Finance joined the webinar as the chief guest while Dulal Krishna Saha, (Secretary), Executive Chairman, National Skills Development Authority, Sudipto Mukerjee, Resident Representative, UNDP Bangladesh, Zaki Uz Zaman, Country Representative, UNIDO and Tuomo Poutiainen, Country Director, ILO in Bangladesh joined as special guests.

Dr. M. Masrur Reaz, Chairman, Policy Exchange presented the keynote paper. He said quality of jobs is more important for Bangladesh as the country has a vision to be graduated into a upper middle income status in near future. Due to Covid pandemic, global growth fell down to -4.4% in 2020 and 50% global SMEs are facing challenges to survive. Lower middle income countries in the world are hit hard by Covid 19 resulting 240 million jobs lost in the 2 nd quarter of 2020. According to BIDS about 13% of all employment lost due to Covid in Bangladesh. But In the wake of recovering economic activities and new normal situation, 3.1 million new jobs may be created by 2021, he said. Technology will cater the future of job nature, he said. For future jobs there should have 8 must-have skills like adaptability and flexibility, tech orientation, creativity and innovation, data literacy, critical thinking, digital skills, leadership and emotional intelligence. He also urged for modernizing trade and investment environment, strengthening quality of jobs and improving policies. He also suggested for long-term skill strategy, public private partnership, regulatory reforms, industry partnership, financing skills programmes and skills training for women.

Md. Ashadul Islam, Senior Secretary, Financial Institutions Division, Ministry of Finance said government tried to sustain the economic activities normal in the Covid situation. Still we are going through the pandemic condition. Growth without employment generation will not be sustainable. Government is giving priority to right skills with enabling environment. We need to rethink the policy dimension due to Covid situation. Inevitable technology adaptation is now the demand of the day, he said. Remittance income, right skill export will boost our remittance. We need to create a business friendly environment in the country. Automation is very important and Bangladesh Bank is working to facilitate, he added. We have to be prepared for future technology shift to accommodate job creation.

Dulal Krishna Saha, (Secretary), Executive Chairman, National Skills Development Authority said we need hard, soft and human skills. NGOs and private sector should come forward to skill development programmes.

Sudipto Mukerjee, Resident Representative, UNDP Bangladesh urged upon inclusive and equal growth of Bangladesh. Soft skills need to be adopted, he added. He also stressed on vocational and technical trainings as well as quality of education and job are also more important. Terming Bangladeshi youth are very creative, he lastly urged upon digital literacy.

Zaki Uz Zaman, Country Representative, UNIDO said Bangladeshi youths are very creative and they should explore the potential of global block-chain arena. He also said that creativity increases the diversification of industries and diversification of products enhances employment generation.

Tuomo Poutiainen, Country Director, ILO in Bangladesh underscored for a framed job strategy. To grab future job market bold action need to be taken to generate skilled work force. Private sector needs to work horizontally with the government and other stakeholders, he suggested. He also stressed on innovation and entrepreneurship development. He finally urges for conducting business management training courses.

Yasir Azman, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Grameenphone Ltd. said our youth have potentials. We need to ignite and encourage the youth to face the challenges of future robotics. He also stressed for skilling, re-skilling, up-skilling, training for the youth under PPP initiative with proper policy guidelines.

Rahat Ahmed, Founding Partner & CEO, Anchorless Bangladesh said facilitating startups will open up opportunities to create self-employment.

Ms. Marianne Oehlers, Programme Manager, Generation Unlimited, UNICEF Bangladesh said connectivity between secondary education and training is very important. Moreover, curriculum development should be in line with the demand of industry, she said. She also stressed on entrepreneurship development. Data connectivity, ICT knowledge, adequate trainings for re-skilling and up-skilling are some of the areas all should work together, she added.

Published on: 2020-11-21

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