Fourth Industrial Revolution is catapulting us towards a connected society.
Improvements in the availability and delivery of communications services means
there are now more than four billion internet users, over half the world’s
digital literacy and skills aren’t spreading as fast as connectivity. And that
increases cyber-risks, widens the gender divide and creates skills shortages.
For example, children living in countries with low ICT penetration are 1.3
times more likely to be involved with cyber-risks than those in countries with
high ICT penetration. By 2022, only 30% of the digital workforce will be women
and the UK alone will need an additional 500,000 workers in digital industries
by 2022. In the US, of the nearly six million jobs expected to require tech
skills in the future, there’s a projected pool of only 3.2 million candidates.
talk to my peers leading multinational organisations, skills and talent
shortages is one of their top concerns, no matter what industry or region they
are based in. It’s easy to see why. 90% of jobs will need digital skills in the
next three years. And at a time when most of our organisations are undergoing a
digital transformation, the digital skills gap is hampering progress in 54% of
our organisations and is costing our economies billions.
a father, what really brought home to me the challenge we face was that 65% of
children starting school today will hold jobs in the future that don’t yet
are no longer enough
though I find that digital literacy and skills are no longer enough. Young
people grow up surrounded by technology, but too many have no idea how it all
works – and don’t fully appreciate how it will shape their futures. They see it
as being geeky, not relevant, too hard or even a waste of their time. If you
talk to non-users of the internet, they don’t talk about not having the right
skills. They talk about it not being for them.
look at our workforce, competencies like data analytics and coding aren’t
always the initial key to getting an exciting job. One of our most promising
young cyber security apprentices, Rachel, studied music, not coding. The
skills, abilities and attitudes Rachel learnt playing the violin are now
helping her flourish in her role in our security team.
rise of digital intelligence
Coalition for Digital Intelligence calls this new requirement ‘digital
intelligence’ – not only technical skills but also abilities related to
managing screen time, critical thinking and digital empathy. Singapore’s
Digital Readiness Blueprint highlights this with its recommendation of spelling
out a set of basic digital skills for everyday activities. These skills include
searching for information on the Web, making cashless payments, using messaging
and digital government services, and spotting fake news and online scams.
the skills gap forecast to quadruple between 2020 and 2030, as leaders,
businesses and governments, we need to build a culture where young people see
tech know-how as the new way to get ahead and make the most of technology’s
power to shape their lives. A culture of creative problem-solving based on
digital capability. That’s why I’m delighted that BT is supporting the
Coalition for Digital Intelligence.
people get more from technology
why we’re scaling up our drive to help people get more from technology through
enabling, inspiring and equipping. Enabling teachers and parents to show the
way, inspiring young people to find technology relevant and interesting and
equipping schools to use technology effectively.
focussed our initial efforts on supporting primary school teachers because they
play a crucial role in setting children’s attitudes and aspirations. We’ve
already trained 63,000 teachers and two million children as part of our
Barefoot Computing project. Free learning materials and games encourage kids’
computational thinking, helping them understand the building blocks of the
digital world, like logic, sequencing, abstraction and programming. Barefoot
resources also help to develop other important digital intelligence skills like
numeracy, literacy, collaboration and problem-solving.
course, it’s not just young children. Amongst teenagers, much of the focus of
digital skills is on staying safe. That’s vital, but we also need to make the
digital world more transparent and empowering. Our innovation hothousing
techniques helped us come up with new ways to support kids understand the
commercial realities of the internet and navigate the digital world with
confidence, answering questions like how companies and YouTube stars make money
online, why gaming is addictive and why they find it difficult to put their
At a time when Globalisation 4.0 needs global, digital citizens, I believe that a lack of digital intelligence is an obstacle for people and the organisations that employ them. We have to address it now to enable people, and our organisations, to succeed in the future.
The UAE has been ranked as the top country in the
Middle East and North Africa for wage equality, according to a new report
released by the World Economic Forum (WEF).
However, the UAE’s performance on the WEF’s Global
Gender Gap Report 2018’s wage equality indicator saw a slight decrease
compared to last year, a statement said.
The Emirates also topped the region in terms of the
number of women in ministerial positions, with improvements recorded in gender
parity in the legislators, senior officials and managers and healthy life
Overall, the report found that despite the gender
gap across the MENA region closing narrowly in 2018, it remains the world’s
least gender-equal region.
It will take the Middle East and North Africa
economies “153 years to close the gender gap at the current rate of change”, the report stated.
While Tunisia topped the region for gender equality
– ranking 119 globally, the UAE ranked 121 with the gender gap closed at 64.2
per cent. Saudi Arabia, ranked 141 with a 59 per cent gender gap rate, showed
“modest progress”, with improvement in wage equality and women’s labour force
participation, the report stated.
Globally, the report found that the global gender
gap only slightly reduced in 2018, as stagnation in the proportion of women in
the workplace and women’s declining representation in politics, along with
greater inequality in access to health and education, offset improvements in
wage equality and the number of women in professional positions.
According to the report, the world has closed 68
per cent of its gender gap, as measured across four key pillars: economic
opportunity; political empowerment; educational attainment; and health and survival.
Last year was the first since the report began
publishing in 2006 that the gap between men and women widened.
At the current rate of change, the report indicated
that it will take 108 years to close the overall gender gap and 202 years to
bring about parity in the workplace.
Globally, having closed more than 85.8 per cent of
its overall gender gap, Iceland topped the list for the 10th
consecutive year. It was followed by Norway, Sweden, Finland and Nicaragua.
“The economies that will succeed in the Fourth
Industrial Revolution will be those that are best able to harness all their
available talent,” said Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the
“Proactive measures that support gender parity and
social inclusion and address historical imbalances are therefore essential for
the health of the global economy as well as for the good of society as a
The report also found that while the income gap
between men and women has become narrower, fewer women are participating in the
“This a worrisome development for which there are a
number of potential reasons,” the report said.
“One is that automation is having a
disproportionate impact on roles traditionally performed by women. At the same
time, women are under-represented in growing areas of employment that require
STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) skills and knowledge.
Another potential reason is that the infrastructure needed to help women enter
or re-enter the workforce – such as childcare and eldercare – is
under-developed and unpaid work remains primarily the responsibility of women,”
the report explained.
“The corollary is that the substantial investments
made by many economies to close the education gap are failing to generate
optimal returns in the form of growth.”
According to Saadia Zahidi, head of the Centre for
the New Economy and Society and member of the WEF managing board, industries
must “proactively hardwire gender parity in the future of work through
effective training, reskilling and upskilling interventions and tangible job
“It’s in their long-term interest because diverse
businesses perform better,” she added.
Nader Habibi and Gholamreza Keshavarz Haddad in the University World News of June 8, 2018, Issue No:509 elaborate on the lack of employment for university graduates after completing their degrees in Iran. Unlike all its peer countries in the MENA region, and despite all the difficulties, Iran has managed to sustain as normal a life as it could muster, but being no exception, Iran’s labour market failing to generate adequate employment could be looked from a different angle; that of normality. As a matter of fact, all MENA countries, monarchies and republics alike are to a certain degree, going through the same trauma: that of unemployment. In any case, here is that article.
In recent years Iran’s labour market has failed to generate adequate employment for the growing number of university graduates. As a result, not only has the unemployment rate among university graduates sharply increased, but a growing number of university graduates who have found employment are working in occupations that do not require university skills.
In the past three decades Iran has experienced a sharp increase in the annual enrolment of university students. The annual admission to institutions of higher education rose from 146,115 in the 1991-92 academic year to 1,174,897 in 2015-16, while the total number of students in higher education institutions rose from 588,228 in 1991-92 to 4,348,383 in the 2015-16 academic year.
This sharp increase was a result of a strong social demand for university education. Policy-makers reacted positively to this growing demand by rapidly expanding the admissions capacity of universities. Moreover, the government was able to limit the fiscal burden of this policy by allowing for the creation and expansion of private and non-profit universities such as the Islamic Azad University.
As a result of these developments the number of university graduates has sharply increased, but the quantity of new job vacancies has not kept pace with this growing supply. The impact of this labour market imbalance is visible, reflected in a high unemployment rate for university graduates. While overall unemployment has oscillated between 10% and 12% in the past decade, the unemployment rate for young university graduates has been between 15% and 20%.
This situation has received considerable attention in the domestic media and it is often referred to as a graduate unemployment crisis. The 2016 labour market statistics indicate that there were 1.185 million unemployed university graduates – some 36% of the total number of unemployed people. They included 797,000 graduates with four-year (bachelor) degrees and 224,000 with two-year (associate) degrees. The remaining 163,000 had masters and doctoral degrees.
This condition represents a substantial waste of higher education resources and human capital for the Iranian economy.
The high unemployment rate among university graduates, however, is not the only adverse consequence of the excess supply of university graduates in Iran. A growing number of university graduates who manage to find a job are employed in jobs that do not require university skills or do not match their university skills. As a result they are securing these jobs at the expense of less educated workers. In other words, a growing percentage of employees in low-skilled and semi-skilled jobs are university graduates who are overeducated for these positions.
A domestic online news site attracted attention to the plight of these university graduates by posting several photos in a July 2016 article.
For a more accurate investigation of the growing number of overeducated persons who are active in Iran’s labour market, we have calculated the share of employees in various occupations who hold at least a two-year associate degree from a higher education institution. The data for our analysis comes from the annual Households Income and Expenditure Survey database that is produced by the Statistical Center of Iran.
In this annual survey the level of education and job categories of wage-earning workers and self-employed individuals are available and allow us to calculate the share of overeducated workers in each occupation category. Our findings show that the share of economically active individuals in low- and unskilled jobs who have a university degree is on the rise.
We observe that in all of these occupational categories the share of employees with at least a two-year degree has consistently increased. Occupations in the service and retail sector have experienced the largest replacement of less educated workers with university graduates.
We observe that by 2015 nearly 57% of employees in office work and customer service occupations had at least an associate degree. For sales-related occupations, the share of workers with university degrees grew from 4.3% in 2001 to 17.3% in 2015.
As for lower skill categories, such as vehicle drivers, or unskilled workers, the share of employees with university degrees is relatively small, but an upward trend is noticeable.
Among unskilled service sector workers, for example, the share of university graduates increased from 0.7% in 2001 to 7.1% in 2015. These are mainly manual and routine tasks for which no university degree is required and a university graduate will rarely work in these occupations if a more skilled job is available.
We have calculated that the share of workers with at least an undergraduate degree in semi-skilled and unskilled categories is substantial in several categories, such as office and retail workers.
Furthermore, in all unskilled occupations that do not require even a high school diploma, we observe that the share of workers with undergraduate degrees ranged between 1% and 4% in 2015. While these university graduates must have felt fortunate to be employed, they are clearly not using their university skills in these occupations.
As for the self-employed in semi-skilled and unskilled economic activities, the number who have completed at least a two-year university degree is also rising in Iran. This growth is particularly noticeable in agriculture, industry and construction, rising from under 1% in 2001 to more than 6.5% in 2015. Furthermore, at least 5% of the self-employed working in unskilled industrial and agricultural activities hold four-year degrees.
One of the undesirable consequences of the trends that we have observed is that the trickle down of higher-educated jobseekers into low-skilled jobs is crowding out the less educated workers from low-skilled positions. This process pushes a share of high school graduates from employment in low-skilled jobs into unemployment.
The reduction of job opportunities and the higher risk of unemployment for high school graduates might compel them to enrol in a university degree programme in order to improve their chances of employment, even in occupations that do not require university degrees.
This adverse incentive will lead to a high rate of participation in higher education without any direct connection to a labour market demand for university skills.
The employment data presented in this article are available in this online file.
Nader Habibi is Henry J Leir Professor of Practice in Economics of the Middle East at the Crown Center for Middle East Studies and senior lecturer in the department of economics, Brandeis University, United States. Gholamreza Keshavarz Haddad is visiting faculty at the Crown Center for Middle East Studies at Brandeis University and is associate professor at the Graduate School of Management and Economics, Sharif University of Technology, Iran.
A Technical Committee of the OPEC and 11 non-members are meeting today in Abu Dhabi to as put by the Emirates News Agency http://wam.ae/en/details/1395302626261. They identify ways and means of raising levels of conformity. obviously review and discuss possibilities to reinforce their year old decision to pursue and potentially overhaul their production cut so as to possibly reach their goal of price sustenance if not increase. Meanwhile, a US shale oil surge and the recent crisis among the world’s greatest oil producer countries are certainly not helping the cartel’s future. In Qatar, everyday life because of this crisis is turning sour by the day as witnessed by hundreds of migrant workers. This article on how Qatari companies send workers on unpaid extended leave in order to maintain their businesses alive whilst the Gulf crisis drags on.
Employees in these sectors have been asked to go on unpaid ‘long leave’ for two to three months, in addition to their standard 30 days of paid annual leave.
Some popular five-star hotels have asked several employees to take additional leave due to lack of business. Although official figures estimate 61% hotel occupancy, employees claim a far lower rate.
“Six restaurants in our hotel has been closed. We have more than 550 rooms but only a few are occupied now. Most of our restaurant staff and others have been sent on long leave. It’s in addition to the entitled annual leave. Some are sent on three months, others on four months of extra leave. But they won’t pay for this additional leave. Although they assure us, we are not sure if will be called back to work or the hotel will extend the leave,” said Leela, an employee of a five-star hotel. She is the breadwinner for her family back home in Sri Lanka and fears the new uncertainty in her job.
“My annual leave will be due in another two months. If the situation continues it will affect me as well. Our salary is only QR 3000. I can’t imagine being without a salary for three months,” she added.
Sarah, another hotel employee working as a kitchen aide said, “initially the hotel management asked which of us wishes to go on six months unpaid leave, due to lack of guests. Then later they told some employees to take three months extra leave in addition to our annual leave. Many have been sent on at least two months of unpaid leave.”
As the majority of construction materials are imported from neighbouring countries or brought in by land through those borders, this sector has also slowed down and some employees currently on annual leave have been asked to not come back for another two months.
“There are some materials in stock, but they’ll run out soon. It will take at least six months to bring materials from other countries and to find alternative routes. Some of our staff on annual leave have been asked to not return for a couple of months,” according to a quantity surveyor at a construction company.
Similarly, employees of some shipping agents have been asked to take at least four months unpaid leave due to lack of work. Their children and spouses have also had to leave the country. Most shipping and clearance agents work closely with their sister companies in neighbouring GCC countries.
“I’m given four months unpaid leave. My wife is not working so we can’t manage if I’m not paid. I have two children studying here. So we decided to go home and enrol our children at schools there. I will come back if things return to normal and if my employer decides to keep me on the job,” said Satish, an Indian expatriate working for a shipping and clearance agent.
Further to our Demand May Top Out Before Supply Does, here is an interesting article on the side-lines of one of the Oil Industry’s main concerns as elaborated on this report of the IBT on the recently held 22nd World Petroleum Congress – Istanbul, 2017 where it was a question of how age and gender could obviously affect the industry to survive this wave of fossil fuel dislike amongst the young. The unleashing of a frenzy amongst today’s youth as Fossil Free is a growing international divestment movement calling for organisations, institutions and individuals to demonstrate climate leadership and end their financial support for the fossil fuel industry.
It may not be as pressing an issue for the World Petroleum Congress (WPC) as the crude oil price slump, but had you asked around the oil and gas industry’s recently concluded triennial jamboree held in Istanbul, Turkey, plenty of high profile people would point to a lack of female executives as a major concern.
Furthermore, equally concerning is the perceived loss of the industry’s appeal for young professionals choosing a career pathway. To his credit, Dr Jozsef Toth, President of World Petroleum Council, which has been organising the congress since 1933, acknowledged the problem in his very first quip of the event.
“Oil and gas will play a role in the energy mix for decades to come. Yet, at the same time the number of people joining the energy industry is declining.”
Much more needs to be done when it comes addressing the gender balance in the business, he added. “We are committed to changing this, as well as showcasing the talent of female industry executives to inspire.”
That’s all well and good; but a cursory look around the WPC plenary halls, auditoriums and corridors by your correspondent found an overwhelming number of delegates of the male and middle-aged variety, regardless of which country they were travelling from.
Of course, there was a young professionals’ floor and youth congress, and events such as a youth night and a ‘Women in Energy’ breakfast.
Despite being well-intentioned objectives aimed at promoting dialogue, to many participants interviewed by IBTimes UK they seemed to be perfunctory box-ticking exercises being conducted because a mega industry event of the WPC’s size could not possibly, not have them. The previous Congress in Doha (2011) and Moscow (2014) had the very same events.
Hope is that the hard work in attracting young recruits and tackling the gender imbalance will finally begin in earnest once WPC’s 6,000-odd delegates, 500 CEOs, 50 Ministers and heads of state go home and ponder about it.
For that to happen, it is worth getting a deeper understanding of the problem first, according to Deborah Byers, US Oil & Gas Practice leader at global consultancy EY. A recent polling exercise in the US by Byers’ colleagues found that most of the younger generation perceive oil and gas jobs as a bit too blue collar and dangerous.
“That’s generation Z – or post-Millennials – typically born in the mid-1990s to early 2000s to you and me. We also find a disconnect between what oil and gas executives think young people want from a career and what they actually want. There’s a general lack of awareness about the industry and the careers that power it, and a substantial gender gap.”
When EY asked which three considerations are the most important in selecting a future career, both Millennials and Generation Z, as a whole, prioritised salary (56%), good work-life balance (49%), job stability (37%) and on-the-job happiness (37%).”
However, oil and gas executives polled expected the leading career drivers for young people to be salary (72%), technology (43%), good work-life balance (38%), and the opportunity to try new roles (28%). The study also found that only 24% of women in the 16-35 age group find oil and gas jobs appealing, while 54% of men in the same age range find them appealing.
The findings were based on a survey of 1,204 US consumers and 109 industry executives conducted earlier this year. In the wider scheme of things, the consultancy’s findings offer only a glimpse into the thinking of female and young people hunting career prospects. However, what it also does is flag up the enormity of the task ahead.
“In an era of lower for longer, some say lower forever oil prices, the industry has a call to action to solve this perception problem for the sake of their future workforce and their success,” Byers concludes.
Dr Jozsef Toth, President of World Petroleum Council, says the industry must improve its appeal to younger recruits and female aspirants.Gaurav Sharma / IB Times UK
Paradoxically, Eithne Treanor, a seasoned energy sector broadcaster and conference moderator based in Dubai, feels it’s the low price environment that is putting people off.
“Oil and gas companies aren’t in hiring mode in any case to begin with, as opportunities from geology to engineering, management to on-site operations dwindle. Furthermore, young people and suitable female candidates ask themselves should I really choose a future in an industry that’s in decline or at least appears to be.”
While the oil price environment is a relatively recent development, Treanor said the industry’s problem of attracting fewer qualified female professionals and its lack of appeal to youngsters also has to do with historical reputational problems.
“The industry has been quite poor at engaging with young people, something I feel it is attempting to rectify. When the idea is to catch them young, leaving it till they are at university is a bit too late; I’d say go all the way lower to junior school.
“For example – a programme started by a science professor in Lebanon called ‘The Young Engineer’ has been running for 10 years and piques the interest of kids when they are 5-6 years old.”
Specifically on the subject of attracting female talent, Trainer said: “Look around the WPC, majority of the panel discussions and deliberations have mostly male speakers. The lack of diversity is visible. Some women have risen through the industry ranks and have become role models, and are indeed here, but there are not that many.”
Positive discrimination is needed, she added, including perhaps an introduction of the Norwegian model of mandatory quotas for women to be on corporate boards and in positions of authority.
Time is running out, and the industry needs to act fast, according Aleek Datta, Managing Director at consultancy Accenture.
“In 2011, around $590bn (£455bn) was spent on petrotechnical workforce development, which rose to a commendable $760bn in 2014. However, oil price slump hit and spending on talent fell to $570bn in 2015, and has been in decline ever since.
“If we assume oil demand will increase, yet spending on talent continues at its current level, the global industry will have 30% deficit of petrotechnical professionals as early as 2020.
“The oil and gas industry is losing the fight for top millennial talent, as young professionals prefer other industries, like the technology industry. Only 2% of US graduates, according our research, consider oil and gas as a primary career choice.”
To some it might seem counterintuitive to invest in attracting and training young professionals and wooing more women to the industry when the oil price is down, but the risk of not doing so could be even more dire.
As put by Bloomberg in an article by Jeanna Smialek dated April 10, 2015 where she said: ” Get ready for a new economic order by 2030 / 2050. In the world 15 years from now, the U.S. will be far less dominant, several emerging markets will catapult into prominence, and some of the largest European economies will be slipping behind.”
A new economic order by 2030 / 2050 ?
Last week an article on the same subject and written by Lianna Brinded, Markets Editor, Business Insider and published in collaboration with Business Insider on Thursday 9 February 2017 by the WEF goes like below.
A prediction: the world’s most powerful economies in 2030
PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), one of the world’s largest professional-services firms, just released its predictions for the most powerful economies in the world by 2030.
The report, titled “The long view: how will the global economic order change by 2050?” ranked 32 countries by their projected global gross domestic product by purchasing power parity (PPP).
PPP is used by macroeconomists to determine the economic productivity and standards of living among countries across a certain time period.
While PwC’s findings show some of the same countries right near the top of the list in 13 years, they also have numerous economies slipping or rising massively by 2030 [ . . . ]
The PwC Report Key findings
This report sets out our latest long-term global growth projections to 2050 for 32 of the largest economies in the world, accounting for around 85% of world GDP.
Key results of our analysis (as summarised also in the accompanying video) include:
The world economy could more than double in size by 2050, far outstripping population growth, due to continued technology-driven productivity improvements
Emerging markets (E7) could grow around twice as fast as advanced economies (G7) on average
As a result, six of the seven largest economies in the world are projected to be emerging economies in 2050 led by China (1st), India (2nd) and Indonesia (4th)
The US could be down to third place in the global GDP rankings while the EU27’s share of world GDP could fall below 10% by 2050
UK could be down to 10th place by 2050, France out of the top 10 and Italy out of the top 20 as they are overtaken by faster growing emerging economies like Mexico, Turkey and Vietnam respectively
But emerging economies need to enhance their institutions and their infrastructure significantly if they are to realise their long-term growth potential.