WEF Future of Jobs Report 2023: Pakistan workforce adapts to new opportunities, technological disruption

By Mehtab Haider
Published in The News on May 04, 2023

ISLAMABAD: The World Economic Forum on Wednesday released the Future of Jobs Report 2023, a comprehensive analysis of the changing landscape of employment, focusing on emerging trends, technologies, and skills required for the workforce in the coming years.

The report gives a comprehensive evaluation of Pakistan’s performance and data related to the Future of Jobs in 2023 and how the job market will unfold in the next 5-7 years. It predicts that 23 percent of jobs are expected to change by 2027, with 69 million new jobs created and 83 million eliminated, and the green transition and localization of supply chains will lead to net job growth. The report estimates that cognitive skills such as analytical and creative thinking will be the most important for workers in 2023 and the next five years, and companies’ skills strategies will focus on AI and Big Data specifically. The report also suggests that while reskilling and upskilling towards green skills is growing, it is not keeping pace with climate targets.

The report delves into key aspects, such as global trends and technologies, role outlooks, core skills, and workforce strategies, to provide a holistic view of the job market landscape in the country. The findings highlight Pakistan’s strengths and areas for improvement as it navigates the rapidly changing global job market. The working-age population in Pakistan is a notable 85.78 million, which signifies a vast pool of potential talent. The country’s labour force participation rate stands at 57 percent, with 55 percent of the workforce in vulnerable employment. However, the unemployment rate remains relatively low at 5 percent.

It also identifies several global trends and technologies that impact Pakistan’s job market, such as digital platforms and apps, big-data analytics, and education and workforce development technologies. These trends and technologies play a crucial role in driving industry transformation and creating new employment opportunities. Pakistan’s workforce strategy outlook reveals a mixed picture. While there is a 41 percent expectation of talent availability improvement when hiring, there is also a 24 percent expectation of worsening talent retention for the existing workforce. The report suggests that businesses in the country must adopt improved people-and-culture metrics, reporting, and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) policies to enhance talent availability. DEI programmes in Pakistan emphasize offering greater flexibility in education requirements, degree requirements for roles, and setting up Employee Representation Groups. Currently, 45 percent of the surveyed organizations have DEI programs in place, compared to the global average of 67 percent.

In Pakistan, there is a more negative outlook on talent development compared to the global average, with only 45 percent of respondents expressing a positive outlook for the next five years. This is consistent with Pakistan’s lower skills stability of 44 percent compared to the global average of 56 percent.

Moreover, Pakistani businesses value the completion of short courses and online certificates significantly higher than in countries like the Republic of Korea and Switzerland, with 41 percent of Pakistani businesses considering them, more than twice the global average of 19 percent. This highlights the need for Pakistan to focus on workforce skill development and upskilling to improve talent development and stay competitive in the global market.

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