PwC and UNICEF collaborate to up-skill young workers

18 March 2020 3 min. read

While businesses continue to complain that they have a shortage of new workers with data, digital and leadership skills, the potential of workforces in low-income countries continues to be neglected. In order to challenge that, UNICEF has teamed up with PwC to help up-skill young people in countries including India and South Africa.

As the world faces a major talent shortage – changing geo-political relations are threatening to stifle the flow of labour between nations, while an ageing population could see millions of jobs left unfilled by 2030. Data analytics and automation are often spoken of as ways of alleviating this mounting pressure, with the increased efficiency and accuracy of technological solutions compensating for the loss of a portion of the physical workforce. Despite this, the public and private sectors continue to drag their feet on the matter.

According to a new poll by UNICEF and PwC, many young people feel their current education is not preparing them with the skills they need to get jobs. An online survey of more than 40,000 young people in over 150 countries has revealed the largest number of 23% believe leadership is the top key skill young people need to acquire in order to help them gain employment in the next decade. This was followed by 18% who noted analytical thinking and innovation, ahead of communication, and data processing, both at 17%.  

What skills do you aspire to develop to get that job that you want in the next 10 years?

However, 32% of the young people responding via the UNICEF engagement platform U-Report said that the skills and training programmes offered to them did not match their career aspirations. At the same time, more than a third of respondents also said that the jobs they seek are not available in their communities.

Every month, 10 million young people reach working age, most of them coming from low and middle-income countries. According to a global research, it takes young people in those countries about a year and a half on average to break into the labour market, and a staggering four-and-a-half years to find their first decent job. This situation could potentially further deteriorate if it isn’t addressed, with 20-40% of the jobs currently held by 16-24 year olds assessed to be at risk of automation by the mid-2030s.

Do you feel the skill and training programmes being offered right now matches with your career aspiration and interest?

Commenting on the findings, UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore said, “Young people are telling us they want digital and transferable skills to succeed in the workplace of the future. This crucial need can only be met through the contributions of public and private partners around the globe.”

In order to address some of these challenges, UNICEF and PwC have announced a three-year partnership aimed at helping equip young people around the world with the skills they need for future work. The collaboration will support research on the growing global skills challenge and develop, expand and fund education and skills programmes in countries including India and South Africa.

“Many of the people who need up-skilling the most have the least access to opportunities,” said Bob Moritz, Chairman of the PwC Network. “By joining forces with UNICEF, we believe we can help reach more people who may otherwise be unwillingly left behind. Together, we aim to up-skill millions of young people.”