Bangladesh Youth Leadership Center's Office of Professional Development, in partnership with The Daily Star, has organized a roundtable discussion on 'Closing the skills gap: Preparing the next generation for an uncertain job market' with HR professionals from 19 of Bangladesh's leading companies.
Supported by the Aga Khan Foundation (Bangladesh) and Rizwan Adatia Foundation, this roundtable was organized to shed light on the challenges in recruitment and talent acquisition in the current job market and how it is affecting youth unemployment, said a BYLC press release on Thursday.
The guests at the roundtable represented diverse sectors such as banking, insurance, telecommunications, development, manufacturing, tech start-ups, and pharmaceuticals. They shared their insights on the skills required to excel in the 21st century workplace and the collective role of education institutions and industries to close the skills gap.
"It is imperative that Bangladesh diversifies its economy to develop new comparative advantage. In order to establish an active labor market, there must be heavy investment in human capital through expansion of vocational training and higher education so that there is constant acquisition of new skills," said Ragnar Gudmundsson, Resident Representative, International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Discussants talked about the set of skills that the youth in Bangladesh need to build as they prepare to enter the job market such as critical thinking, effective communication, and creative problem solving. They also stressed on the importance of continuous learning and emotional intelligence. The roundtable also focused on how organizations have a corresponding responsibility to adapt to the learning needs and interests of the youth.
"53% of the workforce in our company comprises of millennials who have access to information. However, in many cases they don't know how to process this information and implement it in their work, so training programs or internships for fresh graduates should be tailored to build such capabilities," said Fatema Rizwana, Human Resource Director, Nestle Bangladesh Ltd.
"We should be open to adapting the job environment so that a young workforce is motivated and productive," said Munmun Salma Chowdhury, Chief People Officer, BRAC International.
Bangladesh currently has an excess of university degree holders where millions of students stemming from Madrassas, Bangla and English mediums of education are competing for a limited number of jobs, making it highly competitive.
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