With 75 million youth currently unemployed today, policymakers have to bridge the gap between a critically low supply of highly skilled professionals and the urgent demand among employers for a skilled workforce. By 2020, the global shortage of highly-skilled workers is expected to reach 38-40 million.
Current advances in the digital age require the collection and interpretation of big data. Employees with the ability to gather, analyze and draw practical conclusions from big data, as well as communicate these findings to others are forecasted to be among the most in demand. Labor markets are in dire need of professionals trained in data science and analytics, and shortages are severe enough to constrain economic growth.
In response to APEC’s policy goals on human capital development, Project DARE - Data Analytics Raising Employment - was created to address the current shortage of employees skilled in data science and analytics, which has resulted in billions of dollars in lost revenue annually. The project brought together business, government and academic leaders to develop a set of ten Recommended APEC Data Science and Analytics Competencies to serve as a resource to equip academic institutions and training providers across APEC economies to align curricula, courses and programs to fill this gap between skills and employer demand.
As technologies rapidly develop data-driven automation, there is a pressing challenge for workers to upgrade their skills to not only avoid obsolescence, but also to fully unlock the potential of these new technologies. Professionals that are educated in data science and analytics will possess skills that are not easily replaced by automation.
“We need to continue to focus on these new generation issues as we see how big data and electronic commerce impact employment,” explained Dr Alan Bollard, Executive Director of the APEC Secretariat. “We recognize the concern over the loss of jobs due to automation and we are making sure that existing and new work forces have the skills to keep them up to speed with these developments,” he added.
Research commissioned by Project DARE revealed that sectors such as healthcare, financial services, manufacturing, cybersecurity and retail have the highest demand for data science and analytics-enabled workers. Meanwhile, IT personnel, sales representatives, engineers, skilled traders, accounting and finance staff, technicians, managers and executives, and researchers in the field of R&D represent top jobs lacking skilled personnel across the APEC region.
The competencies were developed by a 50-person advisory group composed of business and academic leaders that oversee data science and analytics from APEC member economies. The advisory group was co-chaired by Wiley and the Business Higher Education Forum.
Project DARE is an initiative led by the United States Department of Labor, under APEC’s Human Resources Development Working Group and endorsed by the APEC Business Advisory Council.