What kind of skills will be required for the future of jobs in Armenia?

Based on the upcoming National Competitiveness Report of Armenia 2019

The global job market is undergoing structural transformations. Economic, socio-demographic, technological, and environmental drivers are changing the demand and requirements of the labor market. Transformations in the job market create unique opportunities for development, particularly for developing economies, as well as challenges such as job destruction, potential workforce shortage, unemployment risks, skillset mismatch, and so forth. Addressing these challenges is critical for building a strong and employable workforce, maintaining high levels of employment, and enabling sustainable economic growth.

To gauge the pulse of job markets, obtain insight on emerging needs, and compare local with global trends, we conducted an enterprise survey in Armenia congruent with the sampling and methodology used by the World Economic Forum (WEF) in their recent study on the future of jobs. The survey focuses on three main themes: strategic development plans of the companies, technological transformations, and skillset requirements of the workforce. It aims to shed light on the understanding and intentions of companies that shape workforce demands across different industry sectors. Special attention is paid to technological breakthroughs in understanding their potential for creating and disrupting jobs.

Trends identified in Armenia as a result of the future of jobs survey in Armenia are in line with global trends. New jobs and professions are emerging, transforming the current ones or totally replacing them as a result of the technological revolution, socioeconomic conditions, demographic and environmental changes, and geopolitical factors. Some occupations and roles are projected to become redundant and will disappear during the upcoming five to 10 years.

Tasks conducted by workers will be transformed in the future as a result of automation and technological advancement. The fraction of tasks performed by humans instead of machines is declining rapidly. Even the tasks that are considered to be inherently human—communication and interaction, coordination, management and advising, as well as reasoning and decision-making—are expected to be partially automated in near future.

Skill requirements for employment are changing along with job market transformations and the technological revolution. Reskilling and upskilling of employees becomes a necessity globally. The share of companies that plan to put effort into reskilling their employees is expected to rise compared with the current practice. Only 20% of surveyed companies in Armenia have reskilled their employees during the past 12 months prior to the survey. Currently 30-50% of organizations surveyed think that at least 15-25% of their workers will require reskilling in the future.

The Global Future of Jobs survey conducted by the World Economic Forum revealed that at least 54% of all current employees around the globe will require reskilling or upskilling to meet employment requirements. Analytical thinking, innovation, and active learning and learning strategies are among the highly demanded skills. Technological skills are sharply increasing, which is an indicator of rapid technological adoption by companies. Soft skills such as critical thinking, creativity, negotiation and communication, innovation, emotional intelligence, and leadership increase their value significantly as “human” skills.

About 66% of the survey respondents in Armenia stated that coordinating, managing, decision-making and advising, as well as information and data processing are among the core tasks to be accomplished by key roles in their companies. More than 70% of respondents consider analytical thinking and innovation, teamwork, active learning, strategic thinking and complex problem solving to be the key skills required in order to accomplish core tasks.

Survey results indicate that there is an increasing demand for soft skills such as innovative and creative thinking, active learning, originality, leadership and social influence, critical thinking, and problem solving skills in Armenia. Coordination and time management as well as manual dexterity, endurance and precision, reading, writing, and active listening skills are the top skills projected to decrease by 2024.

More than 80% of surveyed companies favor the idea that higher education is crucial for the job market, although the learned skills may no longer be practical. The respondents evaluate the quality of education in Armenia as being average or low for both Bachelor’s and Master’s degree students.

The respondents cite students’ lack of practical skills and ill preparedness for the labor market upon graduation. Fundamental skills required for entering the labor market are provided moderately or not at all. Soft skills such as communication skills, creativity and innovativeness, teamwork, leadership, and social influence are assessed as the top skills that universities fail to provide to students.

To address future job transformations, Armenia needs to have a comprehensive strategy for human capital development. Education system of the country needs to be enough flexible to adopt to the transformations and prepare students for the future of jobs. The country’s quality of education needs to be improved and be able to adjust to the changing skillset demands for jobs and labor market requirements.

The future of jobs survey was conducted with global leaders in different sectors in Armenia who are top executives or chief financial, innovation, or strategic officers. In total, 86 companies in Armenia participated in the survey. The survey covers all major sectors based on NACE letter level classification.


Author: Sara Zakaryan