The U.S. Falls Sharply in Digital Skills Ranking 29th Globally, Says Coursera

IBL News | New York (NYSE: COUR) yesterday introduced its third annual Global Skills Report, which drew data on proficiency in 100 countries and revealed the top skills needed along with the learning hours required to develop them.

The study found that the digital skills gap in the U.S. worsened during the year of the pandemic — with 41% of unemployed people out of work for at least six months. Despite the accelerated digital transformation, the U.S. fell behind many countries in Europe and Asia.

The country ranked 29the globally, trailing behind Switzerland (#1) and Luxembourg (#2) in Europe, and Japan (#4), and Singapore (#10) in Asia.

According to Coursera, out of over 100 countries, the US ranked 40th in business, 35th in data science, and 30th in technology skills.

Inside America, the regional divide increased, with the South increasing its proficiency gap. The learning company found that 55% of the jobs in the South are middle-skill positions, which require training.

Regarding the time required to prepare for entry-level roles, the research stated that recent graduates and mid-career changers can develop entry-level, digital job skills in as little as 35 to 70 hours (or 1-2 months with 10 learning hours per week). On the other hand, someone with no degree or technology experience can be job-ready in 80 to 240 hours (or 2-6 months with 10 learning hours per week).

Other insights include:

  • Learners must invest in both soft and technical skills to stay job-relevant in a rapidly evolving labor market. For example, an entry-level cloud computing role like a Computer Support Specialist requires learning both soft skills like problem solving and organizational development, and technical skills such as security engineering and computer networking. Similarly, entry-level marketing roles require data analysis software and digital marketing skills in addition to soft skills like strategy, creativity, and communication.
  • The most transferable skills across all future jobs are in human skills like problem solving and communication, computer literacy, and career management. Foundational skills like business communication and digital literacy enable workers to participate in increasingly tech-heavy and global work environments. As people change jobs more frequently, job search and career planning skills will be critical to role transitions and sustaining employment.

McKinsey estimates 4.9 million low-wage US workers may need to transition into higher-wage roles and develop new skills to remain employed in the new digital economy.

A total of 97 million new digital jobs are still expected globally by 2025.

“Access to a variety of job-relevant credentials, including a path to entry-level digital jobs, will be key to reskilling at scale and accelerating economic recovery,” said Jeff Maggioncalda, Coursera CEO.

“This report helps governments and employers assess skill gaps in their workforce, identify roles that can be filled with diverse, non-traditional candidates, and details the specific skills that are needed for these roles.”

Coursera’s Giobal Skills Report (54 pages, PDF)