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Future of work: Skills and job requirements in the 21st century

While the youth population (1.2bn) makes up 17 per cent of the world population, unemployed youths (75m) make up 40 per cent of total unemployed population worldwide. In addition, even greater numbers of young people live in informality or do not show up in statistics because they have slipped off the radar of statistics offices.

On the contrary, businesses are struggling to fill their positions with adequately qualified personnel. They complain that young job market entrants are not equipped with the right skills and capabilities in order to add sufficient value to the employer.

In the European Union, there are six million unemployed young people, while there are four million unfilled positions.

This clearly illustrates that there is a mismatch between the skills and job requirements of businesses and what young people bring with them when they transition from the education system to the labour market. But who is to blame for this major mismatch and what can be done in order to right this wrong

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Changes and requirements in the 21st century

This question is one of the central topics discussed in my new book Generation Jobless Turning the Youth Unemployment Crisis into Opportunity .

The problem is unfortunately quite complex and, to name a few, there are plenty of different changes that are happening simultaneously:

  • Demographic shift with an ageing population in some countries and an increasingly young population in other countries
  • Ongoing economic and political turbulence in many regions of the world
  • Global rebalancing of political and economic power
  • Global migration patterns with a decrease in population in some countries and a massive increase in others
  • Growing diversity of countries with more nationalities, cultures, religions, and languages jammed into urban areas
  • The introduction of novel technology that is changing our everyday life
  • The changing generational traits that will dictate the way future generations will live, think and work
  • New industries and jobs that are emerging
  • The virtual space is partly replacing real life

The speed of change seems to consistently increase so that neither the education system nor recruiting activities of employers can keep up with the pace. Hence, we are consistently observing a time-lag between demand and supply.

Various education system experts are therefore proposing a reset of the education system in order to provide young people with the necessary skills for the 21st century workplace. But what are these skills and what does a 21st century workplace look like What types of jobs will actually be there in the future

Continue reading on the next page for more insights, which discuss how educators and employers can adapt.



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