The Director General of the Planning Institute of Jamaica, Dr Wayne Henry on April 11 opened the 2018 Labour Market Forum which was held under the theme “Enabling Growth & Development: Unlocking the potential of the Global Shared Services Sector.” The Inter-American Development Bank was co-partner of the event.
Dr Henry said that the Global Shared Services Sector (GSS) is a key pillar in the economic growth and diversification strategy of Jamaica, noting that: the industry employs approximately 26,000 persons; approximately 60 firms are operating in the market; estimated annual revenue in 2016 was US$400 million; and that about 10.3 per cent of the Real Estate, Renting and Business Activities Industry involves Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) services. He noted that globally, knowledge based processes are on the rise, requiring Jamaican workers to be prepared for more critical thinking.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Mrs Audrey Sewell, said that the Business Process Outsourcing Industry is enjoying a high employment growth rate, and that the National Outsourcing Strategy (2015) is promoting and engaging prospective investments with the goal of doubling the sector by 2020 and ensuring that the country remains attractive to investments in the sector.
Third Vice-President of the Business Process Industry Association of Jamaica, Mr Andrew Fazio, highlighting the speed of change said that sixty-five per cent of children who are now in primary schools will have a job that does not exist today.
General Manager, Caribbean Country Department at the Inter-American Development Bank, Mrs Therese Turner Jones, congratulated the PIOJ on the focus of improving labour and directly addressed the skills that workers will need in the future.
Mrs Turner Jones also noted that the competition between humans and machines will require workers to be able to engage in higher orders of thought such as data literacy (ability to derive meaningful information from data); technical literacy (responsible and competent use of machines to access, manage, integrate, evaluate, create and communicate information) and human literacy (having empathy and being able to communicate social, ethical and existential impact).
Mrs Turner Jones identified the four areas of competency for the labour market as: critical thinking; systems thinking; entrepreneurship; and cultural ability. These capacities – which she called mental architecture - will be needed in the future rather than bodies of knowledge.
The forum featured thematic panel discussions on the Global Services Sector Strategy and Human Capital Upskilling with contributions from the Opposition Spokesman on Information and the Knowledge Economy; Ministry of Education Youth and Information, the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, the HEART Trust/NTA and Jampro.
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