Governments and Businesses Must Uncover and Overcome the Challenge of the Skills Mismatch

BCG’s Future Skills Architect Tool Enables Governments and Businesses to Uncover Factors Underlying the Mismatch Between Skills and Jobs, and Adopt Strategies to Reskill and Enable the Workforce for the Future

BOSTON—Reducing the mismatch between the skills a workforce possesses and the tasks that it needs to perform is critical to increasing overall productivity. To accomplish this goal, governments and business must trace the root causes of the skills mismatch and adopt innovative policy measures to tackle them, according to a new Boston Consulting Group (BCG) report titled Alleviating the Heavy Toll of the Global Skills Mismatch. The report also unveils an evidence-based assessment tool, Future Skills Architect, designed to help policymakers and business leaders uncover instances of the skills mismatch in their economies.

BCG’s analysis points to the need to address three pillars—capabilities, motivation, and opportunities—that underpin the creation of a vibrant and productive workforce. Worldwide, the skills mismatch imposes a 6% annual tax on the global economy in the form of lost labor productivity, and BCG projects that figure to rise to 10% of GDP by the end of 2020. The pandemic only worsens the problem, potentially leading to productivity losses in the form of unrealized GDP of $18 trillion by 2025.

“Responding to the skills mismatch should be at the top of every country’s human capital development agenda, as it continues to be a costly burden holding back economic growth opportunities of the future”, says Dr Leila Hoteit, global leader of BCG’s education, employment, and welfare sector and co-author of the report. “Although governments and businesses are aggressively tackling pandemic related short-term employment challenges through retention and redeployment of workforce, they must also work together on reskilling to meet future needs, make opportunities visible, and provide the right context for people to be motivated.”

The report shines a light on how some governments are pursuing practical policy measures to counteract the pandemic’s impact and, at the same time, address the skills mismatch in their countries. Three practices stand out:

  • Deploying digital talent-matching platforms
  • Facilitating remote skills development through online education
  • Encouraging and incentivizing reskilling and upskilling during the crisis

About Future Skills Architect

BCG’s Future Skills Architect, an evidence-based analytical tool, enables government and business leaders to uncover the skills mismatch in their labor supply. It also allows them to explore the policy measures that some countries have already adopted.

“The Future Skills Architect tool enables governments to gain a deeper understanding of the nature of the skills mismatch, elicit conclusions from comparing their country with othersgetting insights on the roots along the lines of seven key challenges, and allowing them to design and apply measures that are tailored to their economic and workforce agendas,” says Sergei Perapechka, a BCG partner and coauthor of the report.

A copy of the report can be downloaded here.

Explore the Future Skills Architect Interactive here.

To arrange an interview with one of the authors, please contact Eric Gregoire at +1 617 850 3783 or


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