MANILA, PHILIPPINES (6 October 2022) — Digital skills are increasing in demand in Asia and the Pacific, with 75% of employers in four countries reporting a rise in demand for new hires with digital skills over the last 5 years, according to a new joint report by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and LinkedIn.

Launched today, Digital Jobs and Digital Skills: A Shifting Landscape in Asia and the Pacific highlights how basic digital literacy is now essential, and those with higher digital skills stand to benefit more. The study, which reveals that digital hiring has been highly resilient during the pandemic, is the result of a partnership between ADB and LinkedIn. The report provides relevant, data-driven insights for governments, industry, and the international community on shifts in the markets for jobs, skills, and credentials. 

“The digital economy in Asia and the Pacific is growing at great speed, with e-commerce expected to reach $2 trillion by 2025. As digital transformation reshapes jobs in the region, there is an urgent need to invest in digital skills and talent,” said ADB Sustainable Development and Climate Change Department Director General Bruno Carrasco. "As digital skills and credentials grow in prominence, we must ensure that education systems are helping to narrow the digital divide for disadvantaged or marginalized people—and not widening them."

Most employers in Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, and the Philippines now consider digital skills such as proficiency with collaboration tools or basic internet skills for commerce as essential workplace skills, according to the survey. Advanced skills such as coding and programming are gaining ground. Employers surveyed required 8 of the last 10 candidates hired in the past year to possess at least basic digital literacy and skills, and 4 of the last 10 hires to have advanced digital skills.

“The COVID-19 pandemic prompted a drastic change in how people work. Digital transformation drove demand for digital jobs and digital skills—and we know this will continue,” said LinkedIn Vice-President, Regional General Counsel and Head of Public Policy, APAC, Dave Woodward. "It’s critical for businesses to adopt a skills-based approach to hiring and developing talent. Workers must also cultivate a growth mindset and embrace lifelong learning. This is how we’ll continue to create opportunities for every member of the global workforce.”

While the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted labor markets, the study found increased demand for people with skills to help companies accelerate their digital transformation, and an unprecedented growth in online learning. Eighty-nine percent of survey respondents agreed that digital credentials will become a critical part of higher education. Most believed digital credentials will complement traditional qualifications and will be important for entry-level positions in key sectors.

ADB partners with its developing member countries in Asia and Pacific to improve the quality of technical training institutions and skills development programs. The bank is aiming to expand its education operations from the current 5% of investments to about 10% by 2024.

ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members—49 from the region.

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