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Asean Economic Community fails to bridge skills gap

Editor's Comments: According to the article, demand for highly-skilled workers within Southeast Asia is projected to grow by 41%, or 14 million workers, between 2010 and 2025. The goal of facilitating the movement of skilled workers within countries has merit but there are much broader issues at play here. Clearly a skills gap strategy needs to be put in place to grow the number of workers that are available overall and encourage professionals to stay within the region.


While the newly enacted regional trade pact acknowledges the need for skilled labor mobility, only seven service professions have been approved for cross-border employment

Almost three million Southeast Asian professionals are working in Europe, North America and Oceania at a time when their home region is bidding to bridge skills gaps by facilitating greater labor mobility within its borders through the newly enacted Association of Southeast Asian Nations Economic Community (AEC).

The region’s skills divide is stark. Singapore (13) is the only Southeast Asian country ranked in the top 20 in the World Economic Forum’s 2016 Human Capital Report for the quality of its workforce; Myanmar is rated 109th of 130 countries assessed, Laos 106th and Cambodia 100th.

In Singapore, 55% of workers are rated as ‘highly skilled’, while only 10% in Vietnam and 4.9% in Cambodia make that grade. Thailand, Singapore and Brunei have labor shortages due to aging populations, while manpower is expanding in Indonesia, the Philippines, Laos and Cambodia.

About 22% of Indonesians are under-employed, and one-third of those are in the 15-24 years-old graduate age bracket.Impressive gains have been made in education and training, but it will be at least a generation before developing nations like Myanmar and Laos will have a skills base capable of efficiently absorbing technology transfers and moving up the value scale. Read the whole article

#skillsgap #skillschallenge

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