Oftentimes when speaking about the growing workforce skills gap, examples are focused on the United States and the western world, but the need for upskilling and reskilling is a global crisis. The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) are facing an increasingly dramatic impact from the employment skills crisis, especially as it relates to the growing need for digital talent, which currently makes up only 1.7% of the regional workforce. In tandem, the MENA workforce is expected to expand dramatically over the next 10 years, with the youth population expected to grow to 127 million. As a response to these demographic changes, we are seeing a push across the MENA region for education reform focused on developing employable skills.
Our CEO, Michael Hansen, recently hosted Dr. Afnan Alrshed, Senior Technical Specialist at Talemia, the project development arm of the Saudi Ministry of Education, and Dr. Ghada Ahmed Jasim, Chair of the Department of English Language and Literature at the University of Bahrain, on LinkedIn to discuss the education transformation we’re seeing in the region, and how these countries are taking an innovative approach to ensure in-country learners are equipped with the skills and competencies needed to power the workforce of the future.
During the conversation, panelists discussed:
- What the skills gap looks like in MENA and how it is similar and different to the U.S. and other global regions
- The growth of the tech sector and the importance of upskilling the workforce to keep up with this new demand
- The link between education and employment and how important it is that employers, the labor market and institutions work together
- Education reform in the region, such as Saudi’s Vision 2030, and how governments are taking steps to address the skills gap in their region
- How technology has influenced the adoption of English and motivated students to learn the language because technology makes it more relevant in their lives
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