Pakistani youth do not have an easy life, the pressure is intense to succeed in professional life and meet the many expectations of parents and extended family. The increasingly competitive world and social media, which constantly broadcast images of other people’s success, make concentration more difficult for young people.
Ironically, focus, combined with self-confidence and the right information, is necessary to build and maintain a successful career.
The top five professionals who are expected to be in high demand globally as well as in Pakistan over the next decade include data analysts and scientists, artificial intelligence (AI) and big data specialists, digital marketing and strategy and business development professionals.
This data is based on the Future of Jobs report, launched by the World Economic Forum in 2020.
Looking at the list of top emerging career areas, one notices that technical skills are required in about three key areas: digital skills, content writing, and marketing/sales. The good news for young professionals is that the demand for skilled workers is high and many jobs can be done remotely or from home. Young Pakistanis now have a better chance of earning a competitive income and entering the global job market.
Payoneer, an online payment platform for freelance service providers, said in 2021 that Pakistan was among the top four countries where freelancers come from and this number is expected to increase. This means that Pakistanis can benefit from the growth of the global freelance economy. There’s a catch – job seekers will need to spend time learning a trade or key technical skills from basic digital marketing and communication skills to set up a successful freelancing career to win clients or be employed by leading companies in 2022 and beyond.
The set of key critical skills, which employers classify as “personal development skills”, are also crucial to making the most of these growing career opportunities. These skills have practical value in many different professions, they require time and experience to develop, but can also be acquired through practice and relevant specialist courses.
Additionally, job seekers should have a realistic understanding of the three key factors that impact obtaining employment. These are: the perceived value of your skill; company or client hiring needs and personal background (value added one can bring) like if you are referred by a trusted source, are you from a brand university or are you a academically excellent student. All of these factors play, to varying degrees, a role in the success of obtaining a job.
Additionally, if potential employees can communicate the value they bring to the company, they are more likely to be screened or hired. Hiring trends will continue to change as economies grow, but exceptional communication skills and personal perseverance are essential despite the trends. Another thing to keep in mind is that continuous learning is the way to go. No degree can guarantee permanent and successful employment, as the pandemic has demonstrated. It will be the ability to adapt to the growing needs of the global economy, for which citizens will need to continually acquire new skills and knowledge.
Pakistan’s technical education sector is not yet fully developed to meet the learning demands of its 82 million active and young workers or the hiring demands of employers both in Pakistan and abroad. Limited infrastructure, including access to necessary digital infrastructure, means that most of the population is unable to benefit from the growing job prospects. The country’s uneven socio-economic development continues to deprive its citizens of income-generating opportunities.
There are several private institutes offering training courses in the professions likely to grow job seekers. Another option is to travel and study abroad, which is an expensive and arduous process for most Pakistanis. However, some institutes and organizations set up by the government provide free training and programs at more affordable prices compared to private and international institutes.
Below is a list of three government institutes that provide training to young people to advance their technical skills development and support their entry into the labor market or the start of businesses.
I. Punjab Skills Development Fund (PSDF): The PSDF funds and provides training in over 250 trades and offers a selection of on-site, online and blended training. It has partnered with international e-learning platforms like Coursera to offer training from top international universities and companies in demand-driven and popular skills, including coveted digital skills.
II. National Incubation Center (NIC): The NIC works exclusively on training and supporting entrepreneurs to start their business or start-up. It provides training on how to market, scale and launch a business. It organizes networking events, bringing together successful entrepreneurs and potential investors and workshops on topics related to technology and IT.
III. Technical, Educational and Vocational Training Authority (TEVTA): Tevta offers training courses in several different areas and strives to provide technical skills development.
There are also national loan programs for those who want to start their business, which provide loans to citizens wishing to expand their business or start new businesses.
The journey to creating a career that pays the bills and is intellectually fulfilling is a challenge, but now more than ever, young people across the country have the opportunity to base their education and career decisions on global hiring facts and trends.
(The author is a global communication and marketing expert)
Posted in Dawn, July 3, 2022