Beirut, 16 June 2022 (ESCWA)--Amid the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), change and innovation are happening at an unprecedented rate; improved technology and automation – especially since the COVID-19 pandemic – have triggered a substantial shift in labour markets worldwide, rendering many skills obsolete while creating new ones. Today, ESCWA is presenting a report titled “The Arab region may be missing the Fourth Industrial Revolution: Arab skills are still stuck in the past”, based on the results of a unique Skills Monitor it has developed to assist Arab countries in identifying the skills needed in the labour market.
The report analyses whether the types of skills and jobs demanded in the Arab region address the needs of the 4IR and this new era of economic development. It also explores opportunities for reskilling and upskilling, and shows how employees can accumulate skills and move from one job to another using the “ESCWA Skills Forest”.
“Diversifying jobs and building a proper infrastructure for the digital economy are key for the Arab region to keep up with the 4IR,” ESCWA Executive Secretary Rola Dashti said. “Unlike global trends, the Arab region has failed to provide enough jobs requiring future work skills such as machine learning, cloud computing and blockchain. At this rate, countries will likely miss an opportunity for structural transformation”, she underlined.
As part of its ongoing commitment to leave no one behind, ESCWA further developed this monitor to avoid skills mismatches, to assess diversity and inclusion within the private sector, employment projections and Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) mapping among others.
The report provides policy recommendations to help the Arab region keep up with evolving market trends, and sets the stage for member States to identify ways to promote inclusive employment and decent work as advocated by SDG8.
Recommendations include promoting teleworking to integrate more women in the labour force, increasing e-accessibility features for persons with disability, and developing appropriate reskilling and upskilling programmes to avoid labour substitution.
One of five United Nations regional commissions, ESCWA supports inclusive and sustainable economic and social development in Arab States, and works on enhancing regional integration.
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