Written by Huy Nguyen Trieu, CFTE co-founder
Back in 2016, the World Economic Forum stated the significance of the The Fourth Industrial Revolution, yet not just knowing how it will unfold. Now, 7 years later, the wave of technological advancement, also known as Industry 4.0, disrupted processes through the use of Artificial Intelligence, robotics and advanced analytics.
This environment makes the need to upskill and reskill is unavoidable and urgent. This has been the foundation of CFTE from the beginning, and with the latest acceleration in Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain and digital assets use, today this stance is even stronger.
The Growing Tech Skill Gap
This is supported by the findings in the Jobs of the Future Report 2023 of the World Economic Forum. Per the report, 75% of companies will utilise disruptive technologies by 2027, which makes qualified staff crucial for transformation. AI and big data is the top 3rd topic for company learning strategies, and the 1st priority for organisations with over 50,000 employees. This is caused by the barrier to business transformation caused by the local skill gap, as 60% of organisations state that lack of talent slows down corporate progress. Apart from offering training programs to their employees, companies are urging the policymakers to foster talent at scale. The top incentive, with 45% of support from the respondents, is the government funding of initiatives that enable reskilling and upskilling.
With such prospects, how do we approach reskilling and upskilling at such a scale? Who is responsible for it? The individual, the employer, the government? At CFTE, we believe that impact at scale must start with the alignment of each of them: working with governments, the organisation, the individuals, and making sure that each party is involved. As the skill gap can hinder tech transformation of entire countries, we would like to highlight the involvement of one – the government.
The impact of the skill gap is far reaching – affecting development globally. For countries, the lack of talent creates inability to compete in innovation, as organisations do not have access to skilled hires. Meanwhile, attracting professionals from abroad creates a short-term solution for host states, while depleting the talent of developing countries.
Abdullah Financial District “KAFD” in Saudi Arabia
At present, governments establish clear goals of improving their technology ecosystem through new policies, infrastructure development and startup funding. For many countries, 2030 will signify a year of tech transformation, as Vietnam and Egypt plan to become “fully digital” by 2030, while Saudi Arabia 2030 Vision aims to progress the technology sector to global levels. All challengers highlight the growing need for tech talent. Reskilling local workforce is a solution that can support long-term tech development goals of a nation.King
Long term solution
To address this issue, CFTE and experts from the roundtable developed a plan for the long-term solution of the skills gap. The roadmap consists of strategy, alignment, implementation and upskilling at scale.
Firstly, the objectives, which are upskilling and reskilling talents in Finance and facilitating the continuous learning process, need to be highlighted. To achieve these goals, governments need to set out a strategy and shape education policies at a country level (Figure 9). They are also responsible for deciding funding amounts and schemes for supporting the workforce and prioritise those most in need of upskilling.
There are three main actions of alignment from the central banks and regulators to other stakeholders.
First, providing guidance and support on talent trends in cooperation with industry stakeholders who want to grow in financial services. Policies represent the standard of skills that private actors need to aim for, ensuring their investment of resources, positive results and individuals informed of career pathways.
Second, setting skills framework and curriculum in alignment with industry bodies, universities and training providers. An alignment between regulators and these three important actors can ensure key skills are embedded in the training curriculum.
Last but not least, allocate funding to stakeholders including training providers, universities, financial institutions, Fintech/tech, private sector, industry bodies, and individuals. Funding is necessary to promote education but should come with conditions. For example, universities and training providers are required to develop quality courses to be eligible for government subsidy.
After strategies are outlined and actions are aligned, all stakeholders should put efforts into raising awareness on digital and financial literacy and implementing them through regular training. Through a multi stakeholder coalition, the implementation, whether happens at a company level or at an individual level, is a contribution to upskilling at scale.
Nationwide learning initiatives to accelerate technological innovation at scale
Governments are investing in co-creating upskilling programmes with third parties through their funded training arms. This way, they can ensure the creation of the type of upskilling programmes mostly needed in their country. CFTE works with many governments that operate in this manner.
In Hungary, CFTE was entrusted by the Budapest Institute of Banking (BIB) to train the Central Bank in Artificial Intelligence in Finance. As a result, BIB and CFTE have co-developed the Payments in Digital Finance specialisation. Our partnership’s goal is to evolve digital finance in the region.
AI in Finance CFTE Course Graduation Ceremony in Hungary
In Hong Kong the approach is similar. There, Cyberport is a subsidiary of the Hong Kong SAR Government and an innovative digital community with over 1500 startups and technology companies. Cyberport is now the flagship for Hong Kong’s digital technology industry, and we are proud to be their partner. Through our partnership with Cyberport CFTE trained over 1500 individuals in financial services through a series of workshops, seminars and executive learning.
Cyberport Financial Practitioners Fintech Training Graduation Ceremony in Hong Kong
In MENA, CFTE collaborates with the regulators of Abu Dhabi, Egypt, and takes an active participation in GITEX Surge, the leading tech event of the region. So far, CFTE, in collaboration with the Central Bank of Egypt, EBI, launched the first cohort of the Innovator Programme. The course is designed to upskill the workforce in Egypt to enable the nation’s digital transformation plan for 2030. In Abu Dhabi, the policymakers launched a scholarship program aimed at women and people of diverse backgrounds. The initiative is designed to accelerate the tech career development of the local population.
The Innovator Programme developed by the Central Bank of Egypt, EBI, and CFTE
Without the support and encouragement of governments, upskilling at scale is very likely not to reach the levels necessary to face the drastic changes in the industries. This can leave as many as millions of professionals, workers and even recent graduates unprepared to compete in the newly shaping workforces of the future – with a direct effect on the country’s economy.
Singapore Fintech Festival
The importance and further development in the issue of the tech skill gap is one of the main topics at the Singapore Fintech Festival 2023, happening November 15-17. Regulators and entrepreneurs, as well as established industry players will be discussing the industry’s issues, one of which is the role of government in ensuring tech talent across nations.
Meet me at the Talent Zone on the 16th of November, where I will be hosting a workshop dedicated on Blockchain and Digital Assets. This is an opportunity to delve into the intricacies behind these technologies, exploring their potential and influence across the global economic landscape through a specially curated taxonomy.