Business Skills Rise, But Technology Proficiency Drops Significantly In the US

IBL News | New York

Coursera’s latest Global Skills Report revealed that data science skills are declining in the U.S., lagging behind countries in Europe, Asia-Pacific, and the Middle East. American learners are showing higher proficiency in essential business skills, including marketing, leadership, management, strategy, and operations.

Overall, the acceleration of digital transformation, inflation, and global instability are creating a new economy that is in high-demand for digital and human skills.

Jeff Maggioncalda, CEO at Coursera, wrote, “the Great Resignation and automation are mandating stronger investments in human capital, as institutions must prioritize developing the high-demand digital and human skills required to build a competitive and equitable workforce.”

“Our data shows these skills are not equally distributed, and students and low-wage workers need access to flexible, affordable, and fast-tracked pathways to entry-level digital jobs that offer a foundation for a stronger and more inclusive economy,” he added.

The report, which for the first time highlights changes in ranking for each country, features one of the largest data sets measuring skill trends [See IBL News’ story].

Specifically in the U.S., business skills proficiency rose, with key areas like leadership and management increasing from 40% in 2021 to 67% in 2022. Meanwhile, technology skills proficiency overall dropped significantly from 69% in 2021 to 43% this year. Proficiency in data science also fell sharply from 73% last year to 54% in 2022.

  • U.S. learners in the Northeast, Upper Midwest, and along the Pacific Coast had the highest skills proficiency in business, while those in the South lagged behind. Three Midwestern states, including Illinois, Wisconsin, and Indiana, ranked highest in business proficiency throughout the U.S.
  • Idaho showed the highest levels of technology skills in the country, outpacing tech hubs like California and Massachusetts. Learners in the state also earned a perfect 100% proficiency in mobile development skills. This reflects a growing trend driven by the number of high-tech companies in the state increasing 61% in the last decade.
  • Learners in the U.S. increased focus on human skills amid rapid workforce changes. Workforce disruption caused by the pandemic and the pace of automation is forcing businesses to quickly adapt. Human skills like resilience, project management, decision making, planning, storytelling, and experiments were increasingly popular among U.S. business learners as organizations worked to navigate change.
  • The U.S. achieves greater gender parity in overall course enrollments, but women still lag behind men in STEM. The online course enrollment rate for women reached its highest point (51%) in the last year, continuing a trend that started in 2020. Despite a rise in STEM enrollments from 35% in 2019 to 42% in 2022, women still trail men in the U.S.
  • The U.S. remains behind the curve in math skills. Proficiency in mathematics among U.S. learners dropped sharply from 56% in 2021 to 40% in 2022. This lags countries throughout Europe, including Germany at 81% and the U.K. at 78% proficiency. Maine, Washington, and New Hampshire had the highest levels of math proficiency in the U.S., while Mississippi, Louisiana, and Tennessee finished in the bottom three.

The Skills Report in PDF