Governments around the world are playing an active role in closing the tech skills shortage. Through funding for upskilling and reskilling initiatives, governments are able to embrace the rapid digitalization unfolding right now!
The past two years have shown that tackling the global tech skills gap and tech skills shortage requires a team effort. Tech giants such as Microsoft, Google, and IBM have made daring initiatives to reskill and upskill millions for tech. A shift has caused employers to seek out experience and growth mindset rather than the schooling it took to get there.
Despite the bold efforts currently out there to fill vacant tech positions, it is still predicted that there will be a tech skills shortage of more than 85 million tech workers by 2030.
The global tech industry has made great strides, but it still needs help, particularly in making large-scale, systemic changes that will provide more talent to the markets, fast. That is the role of governments. Many governments across the world are able to advance reskilling initiatives through legislation, investment, and much more!
What are countries doing to embrace tech and increase reskilling? Read below to find out!
Israel, the Startup Nation
Israel has one of the most active and vibrant tech ecosystems in the world! Dubbed the Startup Nation for its high concentration of startups and research expenditures, the innovative nature of Israelis stems back to the Israeli Defense Force (IDF).
Mandatory military service through elite technological units, such as MAMRAM and Unit 8200, have transformed fresh high school graduates into cyber and tech professionals in a matter of months. The time in the IDF allows Israelis to apply this technological knowledge hands-on, through real-life scenarios.
When soldiers leave the IDF and MAMRAM, they leave with the skillset to join the tech industry, or even become the CEO of their own startups. To this day, the army is a major source of tech and cyber talent to the civilian market.
Universities provide a few thousand graduates each year, and private vocational training centers produce thousands more. It should be mentioned that the Israeli government subsidizes tech studies at universities and training centers for Israelis following their army service.
Israel’s Ministry of Education has also implemented coding, software engineering, and computer science into K-12 education, making tech commonplace from an early age.
The government of Israel is continuously launching and sponsoring initiatives to train new audiences – such as people in their 40’s and 50’s, orthodox Jews, and Israeli Arabs – to technology roles. This not only supplies the market with more talent from unexpected places, but also improves the social standing and livelihood of such populations.
In response to the employment crisis that erupted following the Covid-19 epidemic, the Innovation Authority, a government entity in Israel, announced an emergency route to finance low-cost tech training to train thousands of people within a short period of time to a variety of tech positions in high demand.
As a result of decades of government focus on tech reskilling, Israel takes the top global spot for startups per capita (1 startup for every 500 Israelis), R&D employee rate (140 employers per 10,000 Israelis), and the largest tech employee rate out of any country (nearly 1M out of 9M Israelis).
The United Kingdom
The UK government has taken many different paths to plug its tech skills gap.
One of the largest is its “Lifetime Skills Guarantee” program, offering a means for adults to learn relevant tech skills in over 400 different courses. Over US$105Mn (£81Mn) from the National Skills fund has provided students the opportunity to learn how to code, utilize data, and other relevant digital skills. The program also offers adult learners access to student loans and connections to companies looking for employees following the conclusion of the program.
The investments don’t stop there! Artificial intelligence is one of the trendiest tech specialties, and the UK is hopping on board. The UK government invested US$25Mn (£20Mn) to fund over two thousand scholarships for AI reskilling programs.
Additionally, the scholarships focus on targeting underrepresented communities in tech, including women, people of color, and people with disabilities.
Ever since 2010, the Philippines has implemented more than fifteen pieces of legislation to promote innovation and digital connection. Some of the legislation includes the National AI Roadmap, which is a roadmap for increasing AI research and development in the country, and the Startup Grant Fund Program, which seeks to provide investment for promising startups in the country. These national programs both require and create tech talent.
Tech companies and the Filipino government have worked together to advance reskilling in the country. Microsoft has taken a special interest in upskilling and reskilling Filipino workers. Through a partnership with the Filipino government, Microsoft is aiding in reskilling over 800k government workers and over 5 million students for careers in the IT industry.
Top Filipino corporations, including the National ICT Confederation of the Philippines, ABS-CBN, and the IT & Business Process Association of the Philippines are also working with Microsoft to soon implement tech reskilling programs throughout the Philippines.
The United States
President Joe Biden has allocated large government budgets towards technology, research, and reskilling efforts.
Nearly US$3Tn will be spent on revamping the cybersecurity and technological infrastructure within the country while also building reskilling, upskilling, and R&D programs for American workers.
On top of that, the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act will spread US$110Bn over the course of five years to fund research in artificial intelligence, quantum computers, and other specialized technology fields.
Finally, the U.S. Army has taken on a venture, similar to the MAMRAM initiative that has existed for decades in the Israeli Defense Force. This project, known as Quantum Leap, aims to create an upskilling program that will train 15,000 soldiers to become tech professionals every year.
A Global Effort
January 2020 saw the fruition of one of the largest government-led initiatives for tech reskilling. The World Economic Forum created the “Reskilling Revolution” with one goal in mind – to provide reskilling opportunities, better education, and jobs for more than one billion people by 2030.
Founding governments included Brazil, France, India, Pakistan, and the UAE. This initiative aims to fortify global economies by equipping more workers with the digital skills needed for the 4th industrial revolution.