A Better Skilled Workforce is Essential to Boosting Ukraine’s Economy

June 8, 2017

Kyiv, June 7, 2017 – Ukraine needs to improve people’s skills to boost productivity and make the country more competitive, according to a new World Bank report launched in Kyiv today. Skills for a Modern Ukraine says that not enough workers have the skills to match the jobs that firms are looking for, and as a result firms are losing clients, access to markets, and innovation opportunities.

Ukraine’s education and training system lacks relevance for today’s labor market, notes the report. Despite high literacy levels and a majority of graduates having solid basic knowledge, the system is not preparing workers adequately.

For workers to be successful in today’s economy, the report says that training should provide a mix of:

  • Cognitive skills (such as literacy and numeracy);
  • Socio-emotional skills (such as being responsible and creative);
  • Job-specific technical skills.

“Most employers want Ukraine’s education system to equip people with practical skills and the latest knowledge to help firms grow and compete,” said Satu Kahkonen, World Bank Country Director for Belarus, Moldova, and Ukraine. “We believe that Ukraine’s education system should create better and more direct links to private sector companies. Taking action now on reforms to better connect future workers and employers will produce big returns.”

The report taps into extensive data from household and employer surveys, online job vacancy data, and an assessment of workforce development institutions. It provides policy makers with new evidence to shape the design and implementation of policies for each level of the education and training system, from early childhood development to on the job learning, labor market information and labor regulation. The report identifies the skills most valued in Ukraine’s labor market, points to specific labor shortages, assesses constraints to firms’ operations, explains how institutions affect investments in skills, and spells out policy options.

“Skilling-up Ukraine’s future workforce is one piece of the puzzle. It’s also critical to improve the skills of the current workforce, support better intermediation between jobseekers and employers, and lift barriers to internal migration so that workers can move to where they are needed,” said Andrew Mason, World Bank Practice Manager for Social Protection and Jobs in the Europe and Central Asia region.

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