How the Asia-Pacific region can bridge the digital skills gap

Asia-Pacific is a region on the rise. It’s home to some of the world’s most dynamic economies and emerging technologies like AI, machine learning and cloud computing— opening unprecedented economic opportunities across all industries. As digitalisation continues to spread across the region, the demand for digital skills at all levels is growing just as fast, and the widening skills gap is increasingly impacting employers, governments and individuals alike.

Today, we’re releasing a report with The Economist Impact to help all these stakeholders chart the way forward and tap into the tremendous opportunities that equal access to digital skills can provide. Here are some key insights from the report.

Online certificates and skills courses open new pathways to jobs.

Survey respondents said that overall, basic digital skills are the most important ones needed in the workplace — and usually consider them a “given”. While there’s still work to be done to bring basic digital skills to more people around the region, it’s advanced digital skills in fields like data analytics, cybersecurity and programming that have become a powerful differentiator for job seekers. In fact, some advanced digital skills are increasingly becoming a requirement in workplaces. For example, almost half of the respondents consider cybersecurity and data analysis as “must-have” skills in their industries.

Skills-based qualifications — like micro-credentials and online certificates — provide the kind of flexible pathways that learners today need. Supporting these new formats offers governments, companies and organizations a major opportunity to help grow the pipeline of qualified candidates for jobs. We’re seeing encouraging results from our Google Career Certificate (GCC) programs that we run in collaboration with our public and private sector partners. There are over 125,000 GCC graduates in Asia-Pacific, and over 80% of them report a positive career outcome such as a new job, promotion or a salary raise within six months of completing the program.

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