REPORT: Launching a Generation of Global Problem Solvers, March 2016

Tae Yoo
Resource Type: 
Publication Date: 
Mar, 2016

Imagine a world of hyper-connectivity where information can help predict an asthma attack and a building can detect a gas leak and contain it. That world is here. That time is now. We are in the age of Digitization. In our digitized world, astonishing opportunities emerge when people connect, and Cisco believes the impact of digitization on society will be five to ten times greater than the impact of the Internet to date.

We can use digitization along with the Internet of Everything (IoE) to help solve some of the world’s most challenging problems— water scarcity, hunger, income inequality, environmental degradation, poverty, migration… and unemployment. Yet, with the wealth of opportunity digitization can bring, we live in a world of complex global challenges that deeply impact our society—from climate change to health and economic challenges. The challenge of unemployment looms large, especially among youth with an unemployment rate that is practically three times higher than that of adults.

Globally, more than 201 million people were unemployed in 2014, which is expected to increase to nearly 210 million by 2019.2 In order for countries to thrive in this new digitized economy, not only will we have to address unemployment, but also job creation. The world will have to create 600 million jobs over the next 10 years, or 5 million a month, just to prevent the youth unemployment situation from getting worse.

Technology alone is not enough. Education alone is not enough. The rapidly changing nature of jobs and the world as we know it require a comprehensive, adaptable skills-to-jobs approach, including job creation. Based on a successful global skills development program, an established track record of effective corporate social responsibility (CSR) interventions, and Cisco’s proven ability to capture market transitions, we believe that a commitment to continuous learning with a strong basis in technology, entrepreneurial skills and mindset, combined with social mindedness, has become foundational to an individual’s success. We believe we can harness the power of technology to launch a generation of global problem solvers who innovate like technologists, think like entrepreneurs, and act as social change agents.

Today, most people do not have access to training programs that would enable them to participate in the digital economy. 39 percent of employers say that a skills shortage is a leading reason for entry-level vacancies, yet 72 percent of educators believe graduates are adequately prepared for the job market. We need to increase access to training and base that training on employers’ needs for skills. Additionally, the existing global economy cannot hire all the unemployed. An estimated 280 million additional jobs need to be created by 2019 to close the global employment gap. We need to increase job creation.

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