The Topography and Seismic Shifts of Global Education to Employment

The Education to Employment pipeline is experiencing an unforeseen disruption and the challenge ahead is enormous.

Education Intelligence Unit

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May 29, 2020

Globally, COVID-19 will cost the equivalent of 250+ million jobs in the second quarter of 2020. 1.6 billion informal economy workers could suffer massive damage to their livelihoods. The Education to Employment pipeline is experiencing an unforeseen disruption and the challenge ahead is enormous.

Isolated at home, it’s incredibly difficult to see the big picture. We are zooming out with HolonIQ Maps from our Global Intelligence Platform to frame the seismic shifts shaping the education to employment landscape.

Perhaps like never before have we seen education in the public consciousness. Discussions about schools and universities re-opening, the realities of mass home-schooling, the key question of a digital divide – all this bringing to the fore how integral, and integrated, education is to us all and to humanity.

The HolonIQ platform screenshot below maps over 9,000 Universities around the world. Each and every institution currently dealing with the immediate issue of business continuity (collective ‘hats off’ to you!). But just as importantly, right now in the virtual boardrooms of every institution, planning for the next phase is underway – digital transformation, ensuring access and equity, and a rapid reimagining of the whole student life cycle to coherently and sustainably incorporate digital and online, both in and out of the classroom.

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Believe it or not, at the end of January 2020, the US economy had 7.6 million unfilled jobs, but only 6.5 million people were looking for work. Fast forward to today and roughly 41 million Americans have applied for unemployment in the last 10 weeks.

In the US, through 2019, the number of open jobs each month was higher than the number of people looking for work — the first time that’s happened since the US Department of Labor began tracking job turnover two decades ago. At the end of January 2020, the US economy had 7.6 million unfilled jobs, but only 6.5 million people were looking for work. Each month, the gap was growing.

Employers had long been complaining about a shortage of skilled workers with advanced degrees in STEM fields. Up until a few months ago, nearly every industry had a labor shortage. The twist however was that employers were having a harder time filling blue-collar positions than professional positions that require a college education. The hardest-to-find workers were no longer computer engineers. They were home health care aides, restaurant workers, and hotel staff. The shift was happening because more and more Americans were going to college and taking professional jobs, while working-class baby boomers were retiring en masse.

Up until COVID-19, this meant that low-skilled workers had the most leverage in the US labor market. There was no better time for working-class Americans to demand better wages, benefits, schedules, and work conditions. It also means immigration reform was more urgent than ever, in order to fill all the open jobs and keep the economy growing. The situation today is almost entirely inverted.

Below is a map of the 7.6 million unfilled jobs in the US economy just over 100 days ago.

As a result of the economic crisis created by the pandemic, almost 1.6 billion informal economy workers (representing the most vulnerable in the labor market), out of a worldwide total of two billion and a global workforce of 3.3 billion, have suffered massive damage to their capacity to earn a living. This is due to lockdown measures and/or because they work in the hardest-hit sectors.

In the second quarter of 2020, COVID-19 may cost the world the equivalent of 305 million full-time jobs. The latest US labor data suggests that roughly 41 million Americans have applied for unemployment in the last 10 weeks. A record 20.5 million jobs were lost in April, around 2.3 million Americans filed initial applications for unemployment insurance last week. All eyes are on the May jobs report, set to be released Friday, June 5.

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Ecosystems will be critical to accelerating the recovery and re-imagining education to employment. Manhattan and Bengaluru Snapshots.

While this is a tragic and hard to grasp situation at hand, embedded within the landscape also lie the seeds of innovation and change. Institutions, organizations, communities and individuals are thinking differently about how to design their future and working together to initiate the recovery and effect positive change.

The HolonIQ Maps screenshots below from our Global Intelligence Platform capture our progressive mapping of the education institutions old and new, formal and informal, analog and digital that make up the global learning landscape.

Each dot may represent a University, College, Education Technology Startup or Giant that together make-up their respective education ecosystems. The level of collaboration, sharing and joint problem solving has increased dramatically, forced together by a situation that impacts every single member.

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