Talent & Education

Bridging the skills gap: fuelling careers and the economy in Asia-Pacific

March 20, 2023


Bridging the skills gap: fuelling careers and the economy in Asia-Pacific

March 20, 2023

Ritu Bhandari


Ritu Bhandari is a Manager with the Policy & Insights team at Economist Impact. She has over six years of experience working in a wide range of public policy topics including education, technology and sustainability. At Economist Impact, she manages research programs for private-sector, governments and NGO clients in Asia, covering topics like food security, climate & sustainability, and globalisation and trade. She holds a Master’s degree in Public Policy from Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore, where she specialised in economic policy analysis.

Bridging the skills gap: fuelling careers and the economy in Asia-Pacific is a report from Economist Impact, supported by Google, aimed at exploring skills gaps in the region. The report contains key insights on reskilling and upskilling in 14 markets in the region, derived from extensive desk research, a primary research survey and expert interviews.

The nature of jobs and skills requirements are changing rapidly across the Asia-Pacific region (APAC). The fast pace of transformation is forcing business leaders to quickly identify looming skills gaps and prepare their workforces for the future, giving clear direction to employees on how to build the skills they will need to thrive. Getting ahead of these skills gaps will require investment, leadership, and clear communication about the effects of trends like digitisation and automation on future skills needs.

To explore these issues, Economist Impact conducted a research programme consisting of a survey of employees, an extensive literature review, and interviews with employers and industry experts. Focusing on a time frame of three to five years into the future, this research has identified the most important trends driving demand for particular skills, gaps in workforce expertise, and motivations for upskilling and reskilling. This report details these findings and outlines some key steps to address critical  skills gaps in APAC.

This research comes at a critical time, when the world of work is changing faster than ever before. Workers are looking for flexible workplaces and a new sense of purpose in their careers, and businesses will need to rethink their priorities and look for top talent in a highly uncertain economic environment.

We would like to thank the following experts for their participation in the research for this project:

  • Akiko Sakamoto, skills development and employability specialist, International Labour Organisation (ILO)
  • Emre Demokan, lead product manager, SmartRecruiters
  • Gagan Bhargava, vice president, people insights and data excellence, Schneider Electric
  • Kabir Nath, principal, talent strategy, Mercer, Singapore 
  • Krishna Raghavan, chief people officer, Flipkart, India
  • Muneaki Goto, representative director, Japan Reskilling Initiative
  • Patrick Kidd, chief executive officer, Digital Skills Organisation, Australia
  • Phil Loveder, executive manager, inform and engage, National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER), Australia
  • Saad Gilani, senior programme officer, International Labour Organisation (ILO)
  • Sean Hinton, chief executive officer and founder, SkyHive
  • Simon Walker, managing director, National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER), Australia
  • Soon Joo Gog, chief skills officer, SkillsFuture, Singapore
  • Ved Mani Tiwari, chief executive officer, National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC), India

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