Experts urge SMEs to adopt technology to boost business

Impact of change in core skills

Kamrun Nahar | Published: May 09, 2019 10:40:10 | Updated: May 11, 2019 17:58:48

Photo collected from internet has been used for representational purpose only

Bangladesh, sooner or later, will also face the impact of change in core skills around the globe between 2015 and 2020, experts opined.

Subsequently, the country's small and medium enterprises (SMEs) should adopt new technology to boost their business, as SMEs are the backbone of an economy, they said.

They also emphasised bringing immediate change in technical and IT-related curriculum in universities as well as technical and vocational training institutions, especially in the public universities.

It should be done by taking new policies by the University Grants Commission (UGC) to overcome employment challenges within the next few years.

"It is predicted that one-third of the present technical and IT-related skills and courses, taught in the Bangladeshi universities, will be replaced by the next five years due to disruption in the core skills globally," Syed Almas Kabir, president of the Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services (BASIS), told the FE recently.

According to the Future of Jobs Report by the World Economic Forum (WEF), 35 per cent of core skills will change globally between 2015 and 2020.

The rate of skill changes are as follows - 43 per cent in financial services and investments, 42 per cent in basic and infrastructure, 39 per cent in mobility, 35 per cent in ICT, 33 per cent in professional services, 30 per cent in consumer and energy each, 29 per cent in health, and 27 per cent in media, entertainment and information.

The rapid changes will take place mostly in Italy (48 per cent), followed by India (42 per cent), China and Turkey (41 per cent each), South Africa and Germany (39 per cent each), France (38 per cent), Mexico (38 per cent), Brazil (31 per cent), the United States (29 per cent), the United Kingdom (28 per cent), Australia (27 per cent), Japan (25 per cent), the GCC countries (21 per cent), and the ASEAN countries (19 per cent).

Mr Almas, also vice president of the Bangladesh Malaysia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BMCCI), said there will be major impact on employment and wages due to these technological changes. There will be destruction, productivity and creation at the same time.

"Scopes of job delegation to machines are higher than before due to the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR)."

"There are hundreds of universities in the country. We're continuously advising them to incorporate some industry people in their academic and advisory council, so that they can change the curriculum according to demand of the industries."

The curricula change process is relatively slow in the public universities, which is alarming. The authority concerned must take move to change their curriculum through the UGC, he added.

Taking into consideration the inevitable impact of the 4IR, Mr Almas advised that it is a matter of hardly 3-5 years that Bangladesh will face the challenges of change in core skills globally. So the SMEs should adopt new technology as soon as possible and in a greater scale.

Acting High Commissioner of Malaysia in Bangladesh Amir Farid Abu Hasan said SMEs are the biggest driving force of an economy. In America, SMEs contribute 80 per cent to its Gross Domestic Product (GDP), creating two-thirds of new jobs in the private sector.

In the 11th Malaysia Plan, under the leadership of Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, it was outlined that empowering SMEs is one of the priority areas and strategies of strengthening economic growth, he noted.

"To ensure that SMEs harnessing potentials of the 4IR is among the measures taken by the government, which will provide new business and wealth creation opportunities. To accelerate and augment this economic contribution in Bangladesh, the adoption of e-commerce in SMEs is essentials."

Emergence of globalisation and integration of regional economic growth have introduced new challenges as well as new opportunities for development of SMEs in Bangladesh, Mr Hasan added.


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