Global Partnership Schools publishes results of survey at World Economic Forum, Dalian, China
An international survey of 400 business leaders from the U.S., U.K., China and Brazil, commissioned by Global Partnership Schools and GEMS Education from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), shows that increased technological capabilities such as IT, mobile computing and social media are considered to be the most important skills by far for tomorrow's global workforce. Thirty seven percent of those surveyed ranked these skills as the most important. The survey asked business leaders across four continents whether today's government education systems are meeting tomorrow's business needs.
Dr. Manny Rivera, chief executive officer of GEMS’ U.S.-based Global Partnership Schools, said, “We invited business leaders to rank what they considered the most important in the future: technological capabilities, multilingual capabilities, deeper technical skills, cross-cultural networking skills, autonomous work habits or a higher aptitude for innovation. The GEMS Education survey shows clearly that American business leaders, as well as those from other corners of the world, prioritize IT skills above any other skills for their future workforce. Governments need to take note of business leaders’ view of skills more than ever as there is a global skills race that is only going to get more competitive.”
Dr. Rivera added, “The survey also shows that a large proportion of business leaders from the U.S. and U.K. feel that they have no access to the reform and design of the education system, and feel that students aren’t well prepared for the world of work. This is something that governments must fix quickly as students are increasingly in competition with graduates from other countries for global jobs. The rise of countries such as China, India and Brazil means that the global economy has a huge amount of growth to offer. The countries that are the most skilled are likely to reap the most rewards.”
The second-highest priority was considered to be deep technical skills (specialist knowledge of the business) with 20% of business leaders polled ranking it as the most important skill for tomorrow’s global workforce. Emerging economies attached more importance to this skill than did the more mature ones. In China, 20% of business leaders considered deep technical skills to be the most important skill and in Brazil 32% of business leaders considered it to be the most important skill. However, in the U.S., only 13% of business leaders considered deep technical skills to be the most important skill. And in the U.K., only 15% considered it to be the most important skill.
Emerging economies did not rank the importance of cross-cultural networking very highly. Only 2% of Chinese business leaders considered cross-cultural networking to be the most important skill for tomorrow’s workforce and only 3% of Brazilian business leaders considered it to be the most important skill. However, it was considered more important in developed economies. Thirteen percent of U.K. business leaders considered cross-cultural networking to be the most important skill – the highest of all countries surveyed. The U.S. came in second with 9% of its business leaders considering it to be the most important skill.
Business leaders were also asked which strategies they should adopt to ensure they have access to the most suitable employees in the future. Chinese business leaders are by far the most likely to want to recruit from abroad, with 22% saying that recruiting from abroad would be the most effective way of accessing suitable employees of the future. However, only 9% of Brazilians consider recruiting from abroad to be the most effective way of accessing the most suitable employees while only 5% of U.S. and U.K. businesses leaders consider recruiting from abroad to be the most effective way of finding the most suitable employees.
With so many important skills required for tomorrow’s global workforce, there is real concern among those polled that students are not being prepared well to meet these needs. Only a quarter of Brazilian business leaders feel that students are being prepared well for the workplace. Forty three percent of U.S. respondents feel that students are being prepared well. Exactly half of U.K. business leaders also hold that view.
When asked whether the state gives them access to the design or reform of the education system, a huge 44% of U.S. business leaders and a quarter of U.K. business leaders felt that they have no access. Chinese and Brazilian business leaders felt they had more access with only 15% of Brazilian business leaders and only 6% of Chinese business leaders saying they had no access to the design or reform of the education system.
A high proportion of business leaders from all four countries felt that their governments needed to improve basic skills of literacy and numeracy: 51% in China, 59% in the U.K.; 63% in the U.S.; and 67% in Brazil.
GEMS Education has a global network of world class international schools. With 50 years of experience in education, GEMS provides high-quality holistic education to more than 100,000 students from 140 countries.