Fuente: Harvard
Autores: Emily Glassberg Sands and Vinod Bakthavachalam

The pace of technological change is rendering many job activities — and the skills they require — obsolete. Research by McKinsey suggests that globally more than 50% of the workforce is at risk of losing their jobs to automation, and a survey by the World Economic Forum suggests that 42% of the core job skills required today will change substantially by 2022. In this landscape of constant disruption, individuals, companies, and governments are fighting to ensure they have the skills to remain competitive.

To shed light on the global skills landscape, Coursera recently released the first edition of our Global Skills Index (GSI) report. As the world’s largest platform for higher education, Coursera brings together 40 million learners around the world with over 3,000 courses from leading universities and companies. Leveraging the unique learning data from the platform, the Global Skills Index measures and ranks the skills of 60 countries that together account for 80% of the world’s population and 95% of global GDP. We also measure and rank the skills of 10 major global industries. (Although Coursera learners are surely not a perfectly representative sample, they are a particularly important group for analysis: those most motivated and able to improve their skill set. For more on how we calculate country and industry skill profiles, see the sidebar.)

For this first edition, we focused on business, technology, and data science skills which are central to productivity in the age of automation and artificial intelligence. Companies and governments increasingly need workers skilled in technology and data science to create the innovations that will drive productivity growth, and workers skilled in business to operationalize and lead organizations through change.

We find stark skill contrasts between developed and developing markets, with North America and Europe far outpacing Latin America, Asia, and the Middle East, on average. That said, the U.S. fails to reach the top quartile of countries in any of the three domains, and shows strong regional heterogeneity, with the South in particular lagging in key skill areas. Among industries, manufacturing and telecommunications demonstrate skill strengths; the tech industry also excels (as expected) in technology and data science, but is weaker in business.

Ranking by skill across the 60 countries in the report, we place each country into one of four categories: Cutting-Edge (rank 1-15), Competitive (rank 16-30), Emerging (rank 31-45), and Lagging (rank 46-60). We do the same for 10 major industries. Intuitively, a country or industry ranks higher when learners in that country or industry perform better on assessments within the skill area, accounting for the difficulty of those assessments.

Our findings at the global level include the following:

Most of the world lives in countries that are lagging in critical skills. Countries with developing economies — and with less to invest in education — see the largest skill deficiencies, with 90% ranking in the lagging or emerging categories. A country’s rank across business, technology, and data science is negatively correlated with per-capita GDP and positively correlated with automation risk, meaning more skilled countries show better economic performance and lower risk of labor market disruption from automation.
There are, of course, global leaders and these are often wealthier economies with more to invest in lifelong learning and public education initiatives. European countries make up over 80% of the cutting-edge category across business, technology, and data science. Finland, Switzerland, Austria, Sweden, Germany, Belgium, Norway, and the Netherlands are consistently cutting-edge in all three domains.
Even so, some countries known as global innovation hubs surprise with mediocre performance. Known as a business leader for innovation, the U.S. hovers around the middle and is not cutting-edge in any of the three domains. Within the U.S., skill proficiency is also distributed non-uniformly: While the West is ahead of other regions in technology and data science, the Midwest shines in business.
The Geography of Critical Business, Technology, and Data Skills

The countries with the highest skill scores are, generally speaking, the richest: the correlation between a nation’s per-capita GDP and its median GSI rank across business, technology, and data science is -0.75. And countries with the lowest skill performance are also those most at risk of disruption: the correlation between a nation’s automation risk (as estimated by the McKinsey Global Institute) and its median GSI rank across the three domains is 0.45.

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