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The Future of the Workforce in Asia



Sungsup Ra, Director, Human and Social Development Division, South Asia Department, Asian Development Bank (ADB)

Date and Time

May 21, 2018 3:00 PM - 4:30 PM



RSVP required by 5PM May 18.


Okimoto Conference Room3rd Floor East Wing, Encina Hall, 616 Serra Street, Stanford, California 94305,


Changes in technologies, together with increased labor mobility and aging, have major impacts on jobs and skills. Asian Development Bank’s analysis of employment changes shows that while emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence and robots displace jobs, it will not likely be pervasive in developing Asia as some predict. Rising domestic demand more than compensates for job losses associated with technological advances. However, new technologies cause firms and industries to alter skills requirements and adjust to new ways of producing and delivering services.

Developing Asia should respond to these challenges. This requires re-designing of the education and skills development system to promote skills like critical thinking, creativity, empathy, and complex problem solving. The question is how to develop these skills when many children in Asia are not able to master basic skills. Several recommendations are proposed for developing Asia. Since skills requirements are likely to change throughout one’s lifetime, enhancing learnability based on solid foundation skills should be key.  For this, governments should play an important role to create flexible and open learning environments and to establish lifelong learning systems going beyond school education and training.

Sungsup Ra
Mr. Sungsup Ra is Director, Human and Social Development Division, South Asia Department, Asian Development Bank (ADB). As Director, he is responsible for managing a portfolio of $3.3 billion. He is also Chair of the Education Sector Group in ADB. Mr. Ra has more than 20 years experience in development projects in a broad range of areas including education, health, energy, transport and agriculture and providing policy advice to developing countries. Prior to ADB, Mr. Ra worked with public and private entities such as Samsung and Korean National Pension. He was an economics professor at Korea University and International Christian University, Tokyo. He has regularly contributed to the development agenda in news media. He holds a Doctorate Degree in Economics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, US.
Cookies, coffee and tea will be provided for this afternoon seminar.


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