Ning Tingting, The Existence Series

The One-Minute Read #7 (Global Skills Index)

Coursera, the learning platform with 38 million users taking one or more of the over 3000 available online courses, has created the first Global Skills Index (2019). It measures the world’s top trending skills in Business, Technology and Data Science benchmarked across 60 countries and 10 industries.

Executive Summary:

Two-thirds of the world’s population is falling behind in critical skills, including 90% of developing economies. Even so, there are a handful of developing economies that excel in key areas. Countries such as Belarus, Chile, Colombia, Hungary and Romania are all above average in individual domains.

Europe is the global skills leader. European countries make up over 80% of the cutting-edge category (top quartile globally) across Business, Technology and Data Science. Finland, Switzerland, Austria, Sweden, Germany, Belgium, Norway and the Netherlands are consistently cutting-edge in all the three domains.

Demand for Technology and Data Science skills is growing, while demand for Business skills is shrinking. Across the board, enrollment numbers highlight fast-growing demand for Technology and Data Science skills from individuals and companies alike. Technology enrollments increased since 2018, with the biggest increases in Computer Networking, Databases and Security Engineering.

Ning Tingting_The Existence Series


Key Industry Findings:

Technology industry professionals lack sufficient Business skills (leadership, management & communication).

Manufacturing shows skills resilience in the digital era: Manufacturing is a strong example of an industry that has successfully embraced digital transformation.

Telecommunications consistently ranks near the top: Telecommunications is the only industry to consistently rank in the top three across domains.

Finance surprises with below-average skills performance: Despite its pursuit of digital transformation, Finance ranks towards the bottom in Business and Data Science and in the middle in Technology.

Global Rankings:

Top 3 Countries

… in Business skills

  1. Finland
  2. Switzerland
  3. Austria

… in Technology skills

  1. Argentina
  2. Czech Republic
  3. Austria

… in Data Science skills

  1. Israel
  2. Switzerland
  3. Belgium

Liao Jianhua_LJH170305


Regional Summaries:


  • Both countries are strong performers across the three analyzed skill domains.
  • Strong education systems in both countries provide a baseline skill advantage; Additionally, both countries foster cultures of lifelong learning
  • Both countries feel an urgency to upskill, which is only amplified by their aging populations.
  • Canada’s superior performance overall may be a result of its approach to learning and development. The Canadian government’s “Innovation and Skills Plan” is also driving success by funding better-quality upskilling opportunities to a greater number of Canadians.
  • Although the current technological boom started in North America, it prompted a wave of innovation around the world to the point where the United States and Canada no longer lead in Technology.


  • An up-and-coming region with high skill potential – most of the 11 Latin American countries in Coursera’s index have at present below-average skills. Argentina, the one nation in the top half globally across all three domains, leads the region. There’s a huge appetite for digital tools in Latin America, which gives businesses and governments a head start in skill-building for the future.
  • Argentina takes the #1 spot in Technology in both the region and the world, driven by an especially strong performance in Software Engineering and Operating Systems.


  • Europe is the world’s most highly-skilled region – most of the 24 European countries in Coursera’s index take top spots globally in all three domains.
  • Eight countries – Finland, Switzerland, Austria, Sweden, Germany, Belgium, Norway, the Netherlands – are consistently top-quartile.
  • Europe’s overall dominance in the charts is in part due to its proactive approach to upskilling talent. European organizations are stronger advocates of combining retraining with hiring new talent.


  • Most of the Middle East and Africa (MEA) is below-average in skill proficiency. Israel is the one exception, ranking in the top third globally in Data Science (#1), Business (#19) and Technology (#19). South Africa, the next-best performing country, is at least 14 spots behind Israel in each of the domain rankings.
  • Israel’s overall chart dominance can be attributed to strong education and research institutions, as well as open immigration policies and heavy foreign investment. Ranked #1 in the world in Data Science, Israel houses one of the hottest technology scenes in the world. Over 1,200 artificial intelligence companies have been established in Israel since 2010, and the biggest driver of growth has been data science and analytics.
  • Saudi Arabia and the UAE still have a long way to go to prepare their workforces for the age of automation, but their embrace of lifelong learning is beginning to give them an edge.


  • Asia Pacific is a region marked by dynamic contrasts in development across all three skill domains. At the top, New Zealand, Australia and Singapore rank well above the global average across Business, Technology and Data Science.
  • India’s jump to #8 in computer related skills is driven by its large IT industry. The growing Indian IT industry employs millions of graduates from India’s engineering and business colleges, and it is heavily investing in moving up the value chain through skilling employees in cutting-edge technologies.

Li Ming_Sense No. 1 4.0.0


The full Report is available for download on Coursera.


The One-Minute Reads lead the way towards research into present business, organization and people trends, while also showcasing contemporary artworks – an art-based learning & development initiative by Madalina Dobraca People & Culture.


Photography© Madalina Dobraca | Featured Artists (in order of appearance):

Ning Tingting, The Existence Series @ Art Safari, Bucharest, 2019 (cover & in-text photography)

Liao Jianhua, LJH170305 @ Art Safari, Bucharest, 2019

Li Ming, Sense No. 1 4.0.0 @ Art Safari, Bucharest, 2019

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