While young people worldwide understand the role that technology will play in their careers and the need to advance their own skills, a clear disparity exists in technical confidence and job opportunities between developed and emerging economies.
This was one of the findings of an Infosys survey of 1,000 young people worldwide, which also revealed that in emerging economies such as China and Brazil, 68 percent of respondents are concerned that a lack of technology skills will make it increasingly hard for young people to advance their career prospects.
Respondents acknowledged the role of technology skills in securing good career opportunities, with clear majorities in both emerging (74 percent in India and 71 percent in China) and developed countries (60 percent in France and 59 percent in the United Kingdom) stating that computer sciences subjects were key education tools.
The data further shows a large technical knowledge gap between emerging and developed economies. For example, there is a 30 percent gap between Indian young men (81 percent) and their counterparts in the United States (51 percent).
"The gap in confidence and optimism voiced by youth in emerging versus developed countries is striking— particularly since it is those in emerging economies with the cheerier outlook. Those with [fewer] advantages, less history, and fewer resources are more optimistic than those with the full weight of the developed world behind them," Holly Benson, managing partner at Infosys, told eWEEK. "We suspect that this has a lot to do with starting point. Youth in emerging countries have an unbridled optimism, as technology and globalization open up unprecedented opportunities."
She noted that youth in developed countries have watched jobs eroded by those same two forces—and wonder whether they’ll be able to match their parents’ standard of living.
"The bar is getting higher, demanding a lifelong dedication to learning and skills enhancement to stay afloat in an ever-tightening market," she explained.
Data also indicated that the disparity between emerging and developed economies’ technological understanding is linked to developed markets' long-established education, employment and economic strategies.
Apparent across all the regions surveyed was the role that communications, relationship-building and problem-solving abilities play in modern, technology-driven workplaces.
"Young people today are not fazed by rapid transformation. In fact, many embrace the challenges this kind of new work environment will bring, even though they might be apprehensive about the way their educators and institutions have prepared them to face those challenges," Benson said. "And those with high skills and confidence are more likely to see learning a new skill as something that will also enrich their lives outside of the work environment."