BAKU, AZERBAIJAN (24 May 2023) – Azerbaijan could create 42,000 new jobs in its key industries by 2025, if the country develops promising policies and workforce to support the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) transformation, says a new Asian Development Bank (ADB) study.

Adopting artificial intelligence, autonomous robots, and other disruptive technologies could create almost 15,000 new jobs in Azerbaijan’s agro-processing industry and 27,000 jobs in the transportation and storage sector – both among the country’s largest employers.

The analysis is from a new ADB study, Harnessing the Fourth Industrial Revolution Through Skills Development in High-Growth Industries in Central and West Asia, which assesses the potential impact of jobs created and displaced by new technology in Azerbaijan, Pakistan, and Uzbekistan.

“4IR is expected to bring about significant changes in the job market and skills required in the key industries in Azerbaijan,” said ADB Country Director for Azerbaijan Candice Mcdeigan. “With the potential for positive gains in jobs and productivity, it is crucial for the country to invest in skills and training to fully reap the benefits of this transformational effect.”

The study analyzes how 4IR will affect jobs and skills in two industries in Azerbaijan based on how important they are to the economy, their relevance to 4IR, and their alignment with regional and national growth plans. To examine the readiness for 4IR, the study analyzed online job portal data and surveyed employers in the two in-focus industries and training institutions.

According to the study, adopting 4IR will result in a significant increase in technical roles and displace many manual roles. While better jobs will be available to workers in Azerbaijan across the agro-processing and transportation and storage industries, the study recommends that strong social protection and reskilling policies would be needed to ensure that the adoption of 4IR technologies does not adversely impact manual workers.

The study estimates that adopting 4IR technologies in the agro-processing industry is expected to boost labor productivity by 49% from 2020 to 2025. Similarly, transportation and storage companies anticipate a 41% increase in productivity.

The study recommends incentive schemes for firms, especially small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which face significant resource constraints in training their workers. This can help to build a 4IR-ready workforce and reduce the risk to some groups of workers being displaced by automation.

“The study reveals that analytical and non-routine tasks will become far more important than physical routine tasks, and employers in Azerbaijan are likely to prioritize creative and design thinking skills and tech skills,” said ADB Principal Education Specialist Shanti Jagannathan, who led the study. “There is also a good opportunity to support platforms – even incorporating AI or Big Data technologies – to help job seekers and recruiters find key talent for 4IR related jobs.”

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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