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KARACHI: Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development, Syed Zulfikar Abbas Bukhari said that embracing technological change does not necessarily means that people would lose jobs.

"Technological doesn't make job redundant. It makes skill change requirement," Bukhari said in press conference on Thursday, to discuss the future of jobs in Pakistan, in light of the World Economic Forum Report.

"It will not make drivers redundant. It will require drivers to learn to use apps such as Maps and Whatsapp," he explained.

He said major responsibility of the government is to initiate policies and provide a better environment for the businesses to flourish.

"For job opportunities, it is the government that create better environment for private sector," he added.

He added that digitalisation can also help in curbing corruption but the government has been facing resistance.

Others present at the event were Muhammad Aurangzeb, President & CEO HBL, Ghias Khan, President & CEO Engro Corporation, Irfan Wahab Khan, CEO Telenor Pakistan and Chairman Telenor Microfinance Bank as well as top business leaders including, Monis Rahman, CEO & Founder Naseeb Networks, Asif Peer, CEO Systems Limited, Ehsan Saya, Managing Director Daraz.pk and Jawad Khan, CEO PSDF.

CEO Telenor Irfan Wahab said that the corporate sector has a lot of jobs but they don't get the right people. He added that it will be a great thing for the corporate sector to have a prepared workforce when they hire.

Muhammad Aurangzeb, President & CEO HBL said that digitalisation will minimise corruption in the country. Citing the World Banks's 2017 report, he said Pakistan can be three trillion economy by its 100th anniversary.

Ghias Khan, President & CEO Engro Corporation said that automation has become so important that 70 percent jobs were carried out from home during Covid-19 pandemic.

Meanwhile, PSDF CEO Jawad Khan said that the job market will transform in coming years. Data entry clerk jobs will become redundant. They must upgrade their skills if they want to stay relevant.

Responding to a query, online retail store Daraz.pk MD Ahsan Saya said that they may come up with a policy where hiring can be made on the basis of skills and not on academic degree.

Pakistan has been featured in the 'Future of Jobs' Report by the World Economic Forum (WEF) for the first time. The Pakistan Chapter showcases jobs and skills of the future, highlighting Pakistani employers' perspective on new job roles and skills that require attention and investment in Pakistan in the age of technology and automation. In its 2020 edition, the Report features in-depth information on 15 global industries and 26 advanced and emerging countries.

Punjab Skills Development Fund (PSDF) serves as the secretariat for WEF's (National Accelerator on Closing the Skills Gap in Pakistan - 'Parwaaz'). Parwaaz brought Pakistan into the global conversation on skills and the future of work by facilitating an extensive employers' based survey conducted with over 50 top Pakistani companies and business leaders across 6 priority sectors. The profile on Pakistan provides a detailed snapshot of the future readiness of the workforce in the country.

The report also features CEO PSDF, Jawad Khan as a Global Expert on the World Economic Forum's Global Future Council on New Agenda on Education & Work.

The Report insights reveal that in Pakistan, with over 82 million working age population, 50 percent on average have requisite digital skills, 51 percent have business relevant skills, and almost 55 percent have acquired education with business relevance. While this looks promising for an emerging country, large challenges remain with 31 percent youth not featured in employment, education, or training, and 55 percent of working age population in vulnerable employment.

The results of the Pakistan survey do however have room for 'measured optimism'; technology adoption especially in the areas of E-commerce, Big Data Analytics and Cloud Computing is high (91% of the companies surveyed).

Pakistani companies are focusing on cultivating employability skills in the domain of Problem Solving, Critical Thinking, Creativity and Leadership, in tandem with emerging skills in the global market.

The 'Future of Jobs' Report highlights the unique economic challenges brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic, while technology driven job creation still surpassing job redundancy over the next five years, the rate of growth in the jobs of tomorrow is reducing.

This results in a 'renewed urgency' to take proactive decisions towards reskilling and upskilling youth workforce. In the absence of proactive efforts, job market inequality is likely to worsen due to the combined effect of technology and the pandemic recession.

The need of the hour is then public-private collaboration at the global and national level, at an unprecedented scale and speed to create socio-economic systems that are more fair, equitable and sustainable.

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