Skills for Competitiveness, Jobs, and Employability in Developing Asia-Pacific

Publication | November 2013

This policy brief draws on presentations and discussions at the ADB International Skills Development Forum held in ADB headquarters in Manila in December 2012 forum.

Government representatives, technical and vocational education and training institutional heads, researchers, international organizations, policy research think tanks, and private sector representatives discussed skills development for employability and sustainable livelihoods. Of special importance to the forum discussions were the presentations of major studies from five organizations on skills and jobs that were released in 2012.

Key Points

  • Talent and skills are crucial to competitiveness of industries.
  • Skills development serving clusters of different but interrelated industries can increase efficiency and sectoral competitiveness.
  • Skills credentials developed and endorsed by industry are crucial for successful transition from school to work.
  • Educational institutions should engage industries to jointly develop skills assessment tools which help improve jobreadiness of students.
  • TVET needs to cover broader transferable skills in addition to technical skills. Formal education also needs to foster transferable skills. A longer stay in formal school can help students to acquire general and transferable skills.
  • The rise of technology in manufacturing requires "gray collar" or "knowledge workers"' for higher value-added products that enable economies to avoid the middle-income trap.
  • Advanced skills are indispensable for a high-productivity economy while medium-skills workers are key for growth of labor-intensive sectors.
  • Developing skills for the services sector is important for Asia to improve competitiveness in knowledge-intensive services such as financial intermediation, computer and information services, legal and technical support, and business services.