Strengthening the knowledge, skills and abilities that lead to personal well-being and improved work opportunities
An important element of human capital is the knowledge, skills and abilities that individuals accumulate towards personal well-being and improved work opportunities. The benefits of human capital extend to future generations — economic growth is dependent on it, as are social capital and networks.
How can countries strengthen their human capital alongside the technological, demographic, environmental and economic trends shaping the future of work and society?
Yet, despite significant increases in access to school and learning opportunities over the past 25 years, serious challenges remain in learning and skills development in many countries, which will limit their economic growth and workforce competitiveness in the global economy.
How can countries strengthen their human capital alongside the technological, demographic, environmental and economic trends shaping the future of work and society? We examine the most effective strategies for supporting learning and skills development
Innovations for accelerating learning and skills development
More than half of all children worldwide lack basic reading skills at the end of primary school, affecting skills acquisition in later years. In fact, less than one in three children and youth are on track to acquire minimum secondary level skills.
Success both at school and in transitioning to employment or entrepreneurial opportunities also requires cognitive, social and emotional abilities, but only limited attention has been spent on these skills. What can be done to accelerate progress in bridging the learning and skills gap among children and adolescents?
Success both at school and in transitioning to employment or entrepreneurial opportunities also requires cognitive, social and emotional abilities, but only limited attention has been spent on these skills.
We are interpreting new and emerging approaches in learning and skills development — what works, why, how, and for whom — to enable informed policy and programming choices by UNICEF and partners. Initial areas of focus include personalized learning, use of technology in developing transferable and employability skills, and STEM education.
Addressing inequities in human capital development
While global comparisons of learning and educational outcomes are important, national averages mask significant differences in dimensions such as gender, racial and ethno-linguistic identities, sexual orientation, disability status, socioeconomic status, and geographic location, which are likely associated with gaps in productivity.
Despite improvement in the human capital of girls, girls and women continue to face unique barriers. We are examining the extent and scope of these inequities in selected areas, including gender gaps in STEM skills, employment and entrepreneurship, and racial and ethno-linguistic gaps in education.
When young people leave school, they have high expectations: three in four believe they will get the kind of job they want, and four in five aspire to be in a high-skilled profession. But the reality is different: half of young people are dissatisfied with their jobs and only one in five are in a high-skilled profession.
The issue of skills, employability and entrepreneurship for young people is an emerging area of interest in UNICEF. To strengthen our understanding of these issues and enable their integration into UNICEF programming, we are examining key aspects of the school-to-work transition, encompassing both work-readiness of young people and enhancing their access to productive work and entrepreneurship opportunities.
Our work explores how to build school-to-work transition pathways that are resilient and responsive to shocks and global mega-trends, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, transition to a green economy, digital economy, and automation.
Labor markets in developing and emerging economies offer limited opportunities for youth. The number of wage-earning jobs do not come close to meeting demand — there are 223 million unemployed or underemployed youth between the ages of 15-24 in developing and emerging economies. And the workforce of young people are growing. Fostering entrepreneurship has become a key pillar of the policy agenda in developing and emerging countries to expand employment opportunities for youth.
We examine the different skills required of entrepreneurship, and how those skills evolve as businesses evolve between stages of gestation, start-up, early development and growth.