economic structure and seasons changing


Diverse realities, common and different challenges
Differences in demographics, economic structures and levels of economic development
inform different countries’ policies for training and skills development.
A key policy challenge confronting more developed countries is how to ensure
that the skills of both job entrants and existing workers remain relevant throughout their
careers. Skills gaps can retard enterprise growth and jeopardize workers’ employability.
Structural changes in the economy and heightened competition between enterprises
reduce the number of available jobs with low skill requirements.
These challenges call for broader access to training at the point of entering the
jobs market, improvements in the relevance and quality of that training, and expansion
of lifelong learning opportunities, all combined with active labour market policies.
A large proportion of the working population requires more and better skills (box 1).

 In addition to specific technical skills, transversal competencies and ‘soft’ skills are
increasingly important, including the ability to engage and interact effectively with
others, build consensus, and provide assistance, direction and leadership as needed. As
job and labour mobility increase, the portability of skills and international migration of
talent become important issues.

 In countries in Central and Eastern Europe, efforts to reinvigorate skills development
systems have included restructuring education and training systems to align them with
the demands of the new market economy, using labour market institutions to mitigate the
negative effects of economic restructuring, and targeting training and lifelong learning on
increasing the adaptability and mobility of the workforce. Many countries share the experience of becoming both sending and receiving countries in the flow of migrant workers.
A significant characteristic of many countries in Asia and Latin America is the
combination of high growth and productivity in some sectors and regions with low
productivity and persistent poverty in rural and urban informal economies. AvoidPart iI A strategic framework …
… to bridge training
and the world of work
16 A Skilled Workforce for Strong, Sustainable and Balanced Growth
ing skills shortages in high-growth sectors requires improved coordination between
prospective employers and providers of education and training, increased public provision of training and encouragement of workplace learning. In some countries, such as
China and India, the shortage of high-skilled workers may make it hard to sustain high
economic growth rates (box 2). 

The role of training in promoting the transfer of activities from the informal to the
formal economy involves broadening access to basic education, supporting informal
means of developing skills, and combining vocational and entrepreneurship training to
facilitate the formalization of small enterprises.
Box 1: Skill requirements in Europe by 2020
Projections for the 27 EU countries, plus Norway and Switzerland, suggest that between 2010 and
2020 some 80 million job opportunities will arise, including almost 7 million additional new jobs.
Most of the net employment increase is expected to occur in higher-level occupations. Over the
decade, the proportion of people employed in high-qualification jobs is projected to increase from
29 to 35 per cent. The proportion of jobs requiring medium-level qualifications will continue to be
about half of total employment, and the proportion of jobs with low qualifications is expected to
decline from 21 to 15 per cent.

In the Arab region, investment in education and training has been stepped up
significantly. However, young people still face difficulties in moving from education
into work, while enterprises often have trouble finding enough people with the skills
they need to be able to expand or adopt new technologies. Preparing the workforce for
the labour market of the future remains a challenge.
In lower-income developing countries, mainly in sub-Saharan Africa and parts of
Asia, the vicious circle of low education and skills, low productivity and poverty is only
gradually being addressed. Only one-fifth of boys and girls of secondary-school age in
sub-Saharan Africa attend school.

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