You people graduating this year are extremely worried and under pressure as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has turned the economy and job market upside down.
Their situation begs the question: what are the challenges the young individuals might face in the post pandemic job market?' How can they get ready for the job market?
To keep pace with the changing scenario of the job markets, young individuals have to be tech savvy with in depth knowledge on data science.
During a webinar, organised by EMK centre, the head of MBA at the University of Liberal Arts Asif Ahmed highlighted top eight job skills that will be required for employment and growth in the post Covid-19 industries.
These skills include adaptability and flexibility, tech savviness, creativity and innovation, critical thinking, digital and coding skills, leadership, emotional intelligence, commitment to lifetime learning.
"Basically, adaptability and flexibility are the skills we need to acquire. And, if you are not tech savvy, it is not going to work anymore," he said at the webinar
"A lot of e-commerce businesses are changing their business pattern, which requires creativity and innovation. On the other hand, how to use data requires critical thinking."
"After the fourth industrial revolution, emotional intelligence is going to be very important."
Asif also underscored the importance of data analysis tools such as tableau and python.
Explaining the structure of leadership in the virtual workspace, Asif said "In order to lead a team virtually, as a leader you will have to be empathetic as most of us are stressed by the new format of work from home."
Access to Information (a2i) commissioned a research titled "Post Covid-19 Jobs and Skills in Bangladesh" and Asif Ahmed gave his insights on the research during the webinar.
According to the study, there will be new job opportunities in pharmaceuticals, information communication and technology, e-commerce, healthcare services, agro-food, and creative media in the country, in the post-pandemic world.
"We are expecting more jobs will be created in these five sections."
The research further explains why these five sectors will have more jobs comparing with other industries. Due to the pandemic, more factories are producing PPE gowns, hand sanitizers and masks. This has created approximately 51,000 new jobs in the factories manufacturing medical goods and pharmaceutical products.
Moreover, many factories under BGMEA, local tech giants like Walton and international brands like Marks & Spencer are already making PPE, masks and other medical goods. Therefore, it is creating new jobs and many employees who are unemployed in sectors like RMG and Textiles, SMEs and informal sector can join these factories as they have jobs available.
According to the research, in the PPE and other medical goods production, occupations like sewing operators, finishing man, cutting man, packing man, line supervisor, numerically controlled machine operator, medical goods merchandiser are being created.
There are over 1,500 IT companies in Bangladesh. These firms are hiring additional IT professionals due to increasing demand for IT services.
Moreover, the new work from home format also has increased the demand for IT professionals. This is creating approximately 10,000 new jobs in the IT and Tech companies around Bangladesh.
To enter the IT job market, fresh graduates can get training under training services as there are more than 150 Training Service Providers registered under Bangladesh Technical Education Board (BTEB) who provide ICT based market driven skills training.
Bangladesh Technical Education Board (BTEB) is providing skills training on caregiver occupations in Dhaka and Barisal, which will be helpful to enter the healthcare industry as professionals.
There will be jobs for online doctors, mental health consultants, and biomedical technicians, among others.
"In the post pandemic world, the demand for all agro products will increase automatically. And the demand for essential goods has created new jobs in agricultural and food processing service sector," said Asif.
Due to pandemic the demand for better advertising and digital marketing services has increased. Many sub-sections of the creative media such as logo design, web design, advertising, among other, will produce new jobs due to higher demand.
It is estimated that additional 1000 interior designing jobs will be created by the end of the year 2020.
Knowledge on web development, java script, cyber security - are important skills that will help the youngsters find jobs.
"In the second part of the research we are trying to find out the skill gap between Bangladeshi mid-level managers with expats who work in Bangladesh, especially in the Boeing industry," remarked Asif.
The a2i study projects that over 20.4 million workers are currently unemployed across 11 high impact sectors in Bangladesh.
During the session Asif Ahmed also revealed that Covid-19 has badly hit four industries in Bangladesh and those industries are: RMG, Tourism and Hospitality, Construction and Leather good and Footwear.
"If we consider immediate losers and winners in Bangladesh context- SME and informal sectors have seen the highest numbers of job losses," exclaimed Asif.
Talking about skills and employment scenario Asif said that the job market is going to be competitive.
"Your degree will not get you jobs anymore."
He emphasised that even as a marketing grad, technological and mathematical skills are required to survive the post pandemic economy.
Asif Ahmed also shared a few personal experiences and thoughts while talking about required skills for the future.
"My son is a teenager and is in 8th grade, and he met one of my mentors and senior colleagues at a recent event. My mentor asked my son, 'what is your favourite subject?"
"My son replied that English literature was his favourite subject. Then my mentor looked at me and said, you know Asif, when I ask such question to young people, I expect only one answer, which is -Math."
According to World Economic Forum and Global Skills Index - business, technology and data science will see growth. Nevertheless, Bangladesh distinctly lags in skill proficiencies in the domains of business, technology, and data science while many European countries rank at top positions.
Bangladesh ranks at 47th position in both business and data science.
"Data science is very important for marketing professionals these days, as social media platforms use the data to help marketers sell their products."
In his last slide Asif showed how to promote entrepreneurship.
"In our report we found that to encourage entrepreneurship, government and policy makers need to take holistic strategy and focus on creating entrepreneur eco-system."
The entrepreneur eco-system includes policy, marketing, financing, human capital, business advisory, and mind-set.
The webinar was held on July 20.
The a2i research team included Asif Uddin Ahmed, Assistant Professor, University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh (ULAB) Asad-Uz-Zaman, Policy Specialist, a2i Zubayer Zakir Khan, Adjunct Faculty, Independent University, Bangladesh (IUB).