Young people in the UK and other developed nations are much more concerned about the level of their technological skills than their counterparts in emerging economies, a report suggests.
The report also says that 40% of young people across all countries polled were concerned about their jobs being automated in the next decade. The proportion is highest in Britain, with 45% believing technology will imminently replace what they are doing.
Future Foundation polled nearly 9,000 people in nine countries (about 1,000 per country) on behalf of IT consultant Infosys and found that 54% of Britons aged between 16 and 25 rated their confidence as at least seven out of 10 that they had the skills needed for a successful career.
Young people in Brazil (77.9%), India (77.6%), South Africa (67.3%) and China (67.1%) show more confidence than Brits, who are nevertheless ahead of those in France (53%) and Australia (50.6%).
Indians are the most confident about their IT skills. As with all countries, there was a split between genders in India, with 81% of men judging themselves to be skilled in IT compared with 70% of women, but Indian women are still more confident than those in any other country.
Only 37% of those polled in France felt they were highly qualified in IT. In fact, three-quarters of young French people believe they have worse job prospects than their parents, compared with half of those in India.
In the UK and Australia, 77% of people said they had to learn skills they needed for their jobs by themselves since their schools or universities did not prepare them, compared with 66% in India. While 45% of young Americans said their education was “old-fashioned” and did not teach them the technical skills needed to pursue their career goals.
More than two-thirds of young people polled across all the markets were prepared to learn a new skillset to get a new job, with more than three-quarters in Brazil and South Africa saying they were willing to do so.
The young workforce also understands that most jobs now ask employees to be flexible about learning new skills as they go along. Eighty-five per cent of Brazilians polled think that on-the-job learning is the most important and are prepared to retrain if they are asked to. Both communications and on-the-job learning were viewed as a higher priority than pure academic achievement in all the countries.
Dr Vishal Sikka, the chief executive and managing director of Infosys, said:“To empower these young people to thrive in this great digital transformation, our education systems must bring more focus to lifelong learning, experimentation and exploration – in addition to bringing computer science and technology more fundamentally into the curriculum.”
Methodolgy: the Future Foundation research agency on behalf of Infosys polled 1,000 people aged between 16 and 25 in Brazil, China, India, Australia, France, Germany, the UK, and the US. In South Africa, 700 people were polled.
This article was written by Cristina Abellan-Matamoros, for theguardian.com on Monday 18th January 2016 11.24 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010