50pc of workforce needs re-skilling by 2025: DCCI

"The Covid 19 pandemic situation has changed the global economic and employment scenario as the new employment generation now requires future compatibility with robotics, technology adaptation, digital data literacy, skills, re-skilling and up-skilling, said speakers at a webinar on Saturday.

Dhaka Chamber of Commerce & Industry (DCCI) organised the webinar titled “new jobs and skill for future business”.

 Md. Ashadul Islam, Senior Secretary, Financial Institutions Division, Ministry of Finance joined the webinar as the chief guest while Dulal Krishna Saha, (Secretary), Executive Chairman, National Skills Development Authority, Sudipto Mukerjee, Resident Representative, UNDP Bangladesh, Zaki Uz Zaman, Country Representative, UNIDO and Tuomo Poutiainen, Country Director, ILO in Bangladesh joined as special guests.

DCCI Senior Vice President N K A Mobin, FCA, FCS chaired the webinar.

 DCCI President Shams Mahmud in his welcome address said with the 62.7% working aged population, Bangladesh has demographic dividend to leverage accelerated economic growth. World Bank referred about 40% university graduates are unemployed due to skill mismatch. Despite having demographic dividend, Bangladesh has skilled workforce shortage in local and overseas employment and 12.3% youth unemployment. 

The nature and demand of skills in global job market are shifting due to global change and acceleration of disruptive technologies. He said most employers believe that critical thinking and problem-solving skills will grow in prominence and 50% of all employees need re-skilling by 2025, he added.

 Dr. M. Masrur Reaz, Chairman, Policy Exchange presented the keynote paper. 

In the keynote he said quality of jobs is more important for Bangladesh as the country has a vision to be graduated into a upper middle income status in near future. Due to Covid pandemic, global growth fell down to -4.4% in 2020 and 50% global SMEs are facing challenges to survive. 

He said Lower middle income countries in the world are hit hard by Covid 19 resulting 240 million jobs lost in the 2nd quarter of 2020. According to BIDS about 13% of all employment lost due to Covid in Bangladesh. But In the wake of recovering economic activities and new normal situation, 3.1 million new jobs may be created by 2021, he said. 

Md. Ashadul Islam, Senior Secretary, Financial Institutions Division, Ministry of Finance said the government tried to sustain the economic activities normal in the Covid situation. 

"Still we are going through the pandemic condition. Growth without employment generation will not be sustainable. Government is giving priority to right skills with enabling environment. We need to rethink the policy dimension due to Covid situation.", he added. 

Dulal Krishna Saha, (Secretary), Executive Chairman, National Skills Development Authority said we need hard, soft and human skills. NGOs and private sector should come forward to skill development programmes. 

Sudipto Mukerjee, Resident Representative, UNDP Bangladesh urged upon inclusive and equal growth of Bangladesh. Soft skills need to be adopted, he added. He also stressed on vocational and technical trainings as well as quality of education and job are also more important. Terming Bangladeshi youth are very creative, he lastly urged upon digital literacy.   

Tuomo Poutiainen, Country Director, ILO in Bangladesh underscored for a framed job strategy. To grab future job market bold action need to be taken to generate skilled work force. Private sector needs to work horizontally with the government and other stakeholders, he suggested. 

Yasir Azman, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Grameenphone Ltd. said our youth have potentials. We need to ignite and encourage the youth to face the challenges of future robotics. 

Rahat Ahmed, Founding Partner & CEO, Anchorless Bangladesh said facilitating startups will open up opportunities to create self-employment. 

Ms. Marianne Oehlers, Programme Manager, Generation Unlimited, UNICEF Bangladesh said connectivity between secondary education and training is very important. Moreover, curriculum development should be in line with the demand of industry, she said.