ACCA (The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants), Nutshell Conferences and IBM joined forces for a thought-provoking and future-focused conference ‘Strategy Summit 2019’ in Karachi addressing tomorrow’s skills and jobs challenges through the prism of digitalisation, SDGs & Future of work.
In her interactive keynote, ACCA’s Global Head of L&D, Juliet Szabo-Merridew, set the scene, saying: “It is imperative to understand the impact of artificial intelligence and other digital technologies on employment, as well as current and future labour market demand. And of course to take the appropriate actions to re-skill and up-skill the current workforce, and make sure the skills of the young generations in countries like Pakistan are future-proof”.
“This is what ACCA does, by equipping our students and members with the real-world skills and expertise needed to make an immediate impact in all types of organisation. This includes a digital and technology research programme – comprising our latest research on Machine Learning- which explains its tremendous opportunities, but also why ethical judgment and emotional intelligence remain vital”, Juliet Szabo-Merridew, added.
All speakers agreed that to shift mind-sets, this must be a collective effort. Policy makers, youth organisations, individuals, employers, education providers, civil society, all need to think how to develop the professional skills needed in this changing world, also going beyond technical knowledge.
Sajjeed Aslam, head of ACCA Pakistan moderated a high-level panel discussion exploring the future of leadership and discussed how to develop the strategic business leaders the world needs. The discussion featured contributions from Robert Nicholas, Regional Managing Director Middle East Africa, 3M, Carol J. Ariano, Vice President Human Resources, Aga Khan University, and Stuart Dunlop, Regional Director Middle East & South Asia, ACCA.
“However, as we also need to promote sustainable growth, this requires certain conditions to make the most of it, such as developing new digital skills, integrated in education systems. It is also crucial that the existing workforce is trained and re-trained, as technology is changing much faster than our education systems. We shouldn’t forget the workforce that needs support, especially when it comes to precarious forms of employment”, Sajjeed Aslam explained.
Anticipation of future skills needs plays an important role, as well as flexible ways of learning, including on the job training. Vocational Education and Training (VET) is a good way to develop initial, labour market relevant skills, but also to up-skill and re-skill later in life. Speakers reminded the need to address both low and high end of skills distribution, as the major portion of current labour force in Pakistan has no or almost no digital skills, and agreed that the important question is how to motivate people to participate in lifelong learning and how to balance the responsibility between the public and private sectors and also the individuals.
“Both the public and private sectors have important roles to play in assisting workers as they transition to the digital economy, expanding opportunities to reach a bigger pool of skilled workers, and preparing the next generation for the jobs that software creates in various industries,” said Stuart Dunlop, Regional Director Middle East & South Asia, ACCA.
Other prominent conversation leaders included Muhamamd Azfar Ahsan, Founding CEO, Nutshell Conferences, Patchamuthu Illangovan, Country Director South Asia Region, The World Bank, Prof. Sohail Inayatullah, UNESCO Chair in Future Studies at UNESCO & USIM, James Michael Lafferty, Olympic Coach, Author, Philanthropist & Speaker, Charbel Antonios, IBM Storage Sales Manager Middle East Pakistan, Paul Keijzer, CEO, The Talent Games, Ron Thomas, Managing Director, Strategy Focus Group, Eva Mourino Busllo, SVP Human Resources, Siemens Middle East, and y Lesego Judith Sennelo, Founder & Managing Director, Gosele Advisory Services, South Africa.
ACCA was the exclusive Knowledge Partner at the conference and the conversations at the event were powered by ACCA’s award-winning Professional Insights.