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Pandemic seen underlining need for digital skills


THE need for digital transformation was laid bare by the pandemic, particularly for the Asia-Pacific, where the bulk of the economic growth depending on efficiencies unlocked by technological upgrades, according to the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

“As one of the fastest-growing regions in the world, Asia and the Pacific has witnessed rapid digitization in recent years. While the trend was evident before the COVID-19 pandemic, the pandemic catalyzed a dramatic acceleration in the demand for digital skills and jobs,” the ADB said in a blog post.

The ADB said that nearly 65% of gross domestic product in the Asia-Pacific will be produced by economies that have digitized by the end of 2022, citing estimates from the International Data Corp.

“This transformation will require a workforce across industries with basic, intermediate and advanced digital skills,” the bank added.

The demand for digital skills has grown “astronomically” in the last five years, according to a study by the ADB and LinkedIn. The study looked at digital job hiring trends across the Asia and the Pacific, including the Philippines.

“Employers have added basic digital literacy to essential requirements for eight out of 10 job roles in the past year… workers with intermediate or advanced digital skills were much more in demand than those with only basic digital skills,” the ADB said.

Workers skilled in Structured Query Language and Java were also among the most in demand across jobs and industries.

“This indicates the broad applicability and relevance of these fundamental programming skills. Employers can benefit from adopting more flexible approaches to hiring programming talent, including by identifying talent skilled through online, micro and modular learning, as opposed to more traditional degree programs,” it added.

In a survey, 89% of respondents said digital credentials will become a critical part of higher education going forward.

“The COVID-19 pandemic effectuated a drastic change in how people work globally… with digitization pervading all industries, every worker must be equipped with at least basic digital skills to remain relevant in the post-pandemic labor market,” the ADB said.

“It is critical for businesses to adopt more flexible approaches to hiring and developing talent for digital jobs. Workers must also cultivate a growth mindset and embrace lifelong learning of digital skills. This is how we will continue to create economic opportunities for every member of the global workforce,” it added. — Luisa Maria Jacinta C. Jocson

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