By Prince Osuagwu, Hi-Tech Editor
Global software giant, Microsoft says the post-COVID-19 economy will be a hybrid one, considering that it will come with different needs and certainly new challenges in terms of skills. The company said while the COVID-19 boosts digital transformation it also means the entire industries should upskill and reskill,
The COVID-19 pandemic has had unprecedented impact on organisations and industries the world over, affecting the jobs of up to 80 million people. Microsoft says as economies slowly start to reopen, jobs that were impacted and lost at the start of the global lockdowns, may now not exist.
Speaking at a forum the company hosted to discuss how the rampant digital transformation accelerated by COVID-19 has impacted skills demand, Country Manager, Microsoft Nigeria, Akin Banuso, said:
“As the economy in Nigeria starts to slowly reopen for business, we anticipate the return to an economy with different needs and certainly one where a new challenge presents itself in terms of skills.
“According to our research, by 2025 digital job capacity will mean the creation of 149 million new jobs. Further to this, 800 million people will be required to learn new skills to fully execute their jobs by 2030,” he added.
He however promised that Microsoft is committed to enabling the continent achieve more through digital transformation and has forged commitment to assisting local economies during the pandemic.
Besides committing to aid 25 million job seekers worldwide to acquire the skills required to survive in the new digital economy, Microsoft promises to provide a continental answer to youth employment and skill promotion.
Recently, it brought together thought leaders and decision-makers from the private sector, IGOs, Government Agencies and Academia, to discuss how Nigeria and indeed Africa will tap into the opportunities of the new normal rather than sink under the devastation of COVID-19.
Speaking on why it was necessary for the software giant to do so, Director of Corporate, External and Legal Affairs, MEA Emerging Markets, John Edokpolo said: “One of our key objectives today was to gain a better understanding of the available models, approaches and best practices in employment as we edge closer to the recovery phase of this crisis.
“The global skills initiative is set to use data to identify in-demand jobs and provide free access to learning content by investing in free access to in-demand skills training, discounted tests that provide industry-recognised certifications, and free connections to employability tools. In so doing, pull together every part of the holistic brand encompassing Microsoft, LinkedIn, and GitHub to integrate these offerings to meet job seekers’ and the economy’s needs”.
While the roundtable also sought to strengthen collaboration between partners for employment- orientated skills development and look to build a consensus and further commitments for key stakeholders on a way forward, it also looked to facilitate valuable dialogue, synergy building and upscaling of public-private sector partnerships for improved youth employability outcome and future jobs.