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Education and

Innovation and Job Creation

Key message

Every economy depends on the education system to generate the human capital needed for sustainable growth.

A well-educated workforce is critical to adopt new technologies and innovations, encourage entrepreneurship, and spur growth in new innovation-intensive sectors that are most likely to create decent work opportunities. As the global economy continues to undergo rapid and unpredictable transformation, especially with the incoming Fourth Industrial Revolution, schools need to adapt fast to the changing future of work.
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Key challenges
  • 55% CEOs globally believe that the current skills shortage hinders the ability of their companies to operate effectively. And nearly half are worried that skills availability is significantly impacting quality standards and/or the experience of their customers.
    (PWC, 2020)
  • Unless there are dramatic reforms in delivery, innovation, inclusion, and financing, many children will be left behind by the global economy. More than two-thirds of children in low-income countries — many of them in Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East —will not be on track to have the skills they need to succeed in the workplace of 2030.
    (Global Business Coalition for Education, 2019)
  • The skills gap is a global challenge, and a lack of education is the root. In 57 of 108 countries, more than half of the workforce have jobs not matching their level of education — 72% of this skills mismatch attributed to under-education.
    (UNICEF & WBCSD, 2021)
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Make the case
  • Urgent investment into education and training is needed to meet the needs of the future to resolve the risk that 50% of tomorrow’s human capital will be unprepared for the workforce in 2030.
    (Deloitte & GBCE, 2018)
  • Education is essential for the transition towards green growth to address pressing environmental challenges. Green industries are growing faster than the global economy average, with a job creation potential of 15-60 million additional jobs, yet the green skills gap is already creating bottlenecks in some countries.
    (IRENA, 2014)  (GEM, 2016)
  • To meet the demands of the future, schools will need to switch to innovative pedagogies. that are playful, experiential, computational, embodied, and embrace multiliteracies.
    (World Economic Forum, 2020)  (Zosh et al., 2017)  (Brookings, 2019)
  • When schools explicitly foster students to hone their critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, and entrepreneurship, student-led innovation will benefit their entire communities. At the Green School in Bali, Indonesia, where the curriculum emphasises real-world problem-solving, students show greater resilience, motivation, and social entrepreneurship. In one year, student-led energy projects led to seven new renewable energy systems at the school, reducing their environmental footprint by 40%.
    (World Economic Forum, 2020)
  • Education helps to spur innovation and technology. Education is necessary in order to adopt the technology that produces innovation. In this way, it can contribute to productivity and economic growth. Without fair access to education, a country's ability to develop is restricted.
    (Bustillo et al, 2023)
  • There are many successful pedagogies and methods for schools to help children and youth better appreciate diversity; this appreciation can translate into boosting innovation and performance in the workplace. A study of 1,700 companies in eight countries found that when leadership teams are diverse, their companies report a 19% increase in innovation revenue compared with companies with below-average diversity scores.
    (Johnson, 2010)  (Titus, 1998)  (Boutte, 2010)
  • Innovation is almost exclusively accomplished by those with advanced degrees. In the US, more than 90% of patent holders have at least a bachelor’s degree, and 70% have at least a master’s degree. If Finland had not invested substantially into engineering education in the postwar era, the number of US patents obtained by Finnish inventors is likely to have been 20% lower.
    (The Hamilton Project, 2017)  (Toivanen & Väänänen, 2016)
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Key opinion
Emanuel Boo Milton Photo Credit Thearthype
Emanuel “Boo Milton"
I believe education unlocks the opportunity to better articulate the greatness within us. We all have a light of greatness and revolutionary ideas within us. When this energy is matched with the knowledge of how to better express ourselves and challenge our current ways of thinking, it introduces new growth and opportunity to be a greater asset to ourselves and the world we are a part of.
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Key talking points
  • Quality education underpins innovation, job creation and entrepreneurship.
  • Employers are increasingly finding it difficult to find workers with the flexible and adaptable skills needed for the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
  • Access to relevant education focused on skills for the future of work and life can have a tremendous impact on providing a pathway to employment opportunities for young people.
  • The skills needed for work are constantly evolving which means that life-long learning is more important than ever.
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