WEF Warns Worker Reskilling Must Keep Pace With Stimulus

Governments need to do more to help workers acquire the skills needed for the jobs their stimulus programs are creating, according to the World Economic Forum.

Both the U.S. and the European Union have deployed massive spending plans to transform their economies in the wake of the pandemic, with President Joe Biden proposing a $1.7 trillion infrastructure package. In Europe, officials are pursuing efforts to reduce carbon emissions and improve digitization.

But according WEF Managing Director Saadia Zahidi, current retraining programs are insufficient to help people find work in those fields.

“What governments will need is to ensure that as their stimulus packages try to build these markets of tomorrow, there is an equal effort in building in the jobs of tomorrow,” she told Bloomberg Television’s Francine Lacqua in an interview on Tuesday.

“For those that are already inside companies, this is going to be fairly easy to do,” she said. “But for those that will be wholly displaced and that will be looking for new opportunities, there’s going to need to be more guidance provided by governments.”

A labor shortage is already emerging in the U.S. and Europe, where the short-term effects of the pandemic such as closed borders are likely to compound longer-term trends like demographics.

An EU report in December identified shortages in construction, engineering, software development and -- more prominently than in the past -- healthcare.

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