The Global Context

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This diagram provides an overview of the global context for this debate

A Globalising Economy

Coalescing economies and new economic powers
The economies of the world are in many ways coalescing. There is a big increase in global outsourcing within the manufacturing and service sectors, and businesses now see no boundaries to setting up wherever they think their interests will be served best. Amongst other outcomes, this has resulted in the emergence of new economic powers.

A global skills race
The global skills race is real and it is intensifying. Skills will determine economic fortunes for many countries in the foreseeable future. Education will be the key to competing in the race.

Clear commonalities between countries
The nature of skills demand is increasingly consistent, with businesses and organisations in different countries looking for people with a core set of transferable qualities.


The Demands On Education

An unprecedented pace of change
Economic growth rates in Brazil, China and India have been outstripping those of established economies by two or three times. This is creating significant challenges for education systems in these countries, and governments and businesses generally agree that future economic success rests on the ability of educators and industry to develop and nurture a highly flexible workforce.

The need for work-ready employees
With the intensity and scale of competition rising rapidly around the world, industry increasingly wants to recruit work-ready employees. Businesses need workers who excel in quality service provision, innovation and leadership. What's more, competitiveness can be inhibited by the costs of recruiting, 'misrecruiting', developing and retaining a competitive workforce.


A Changing Workforce

Employees need to be more flexible
There is a growing sense that there are no barriers to educational or professional mobility. This increasing mobility and the rapid pace of change in particular roles or sectors are creating demand for a more flexible, adaptable employee.

Developing skilled managers
Evidence suggests that middle and senior management roles are not being filled by appropriately skilled individuals. This could, in part, be due to the speed of promotion that goes hand-in-hand with rapid economic growth.

Building on creativity and innovation
Creativity and innovation are qualities that are increasingly relevant to the modern business environment. The knowledge economy and the emerging concept of the experience economy require a workforce that has flexibility and creativity at its heart. The demand for talented people has never been higher, and the opportunities for individuals and businesses have never been greater.


Government, Industry And Educators

Academic learning still seen as superior to professional education
There is still a premium placed on academic learning; that is knowledge rather than skills and attitudes. However, employers have become increasingly concerned that recruits to the job market do not have the skills required to perform effectively in the workplace.

Linking industry demand with education design
There is a big disconnection between industry and educators. Typically, course content is not sufficiently related to the workplace, particularly in academic education. This needs to be addressed and there must be mechanisms put in place to allow businesses to be more involved in the design and delivery of professional education.

More businesses should take an education role
It has become more important for industry to be more engaged in education. Firstly, there must be a way for employers to convey what they need from educators. Secondly, in-work education should be improved across the board and should be scalable to the wider population rather than delivered behind closed doors. And thirdly, there are few links between education and career progression.