Leaders at the first LAC ICT Talent Summit called for joint efforts by policymakers, the private sector, and academia to grow the digital talent pool in post-pandemic Latin America and the Caribbean. These efforts will address the region’s twin challenges of lack of connectivity and shortage of talent in the ICT sector.
The LAC Talent Summit, which brought together some 100 experts and 150 students from the region, was jointly organized by Huawei, UNESCO, and EFE News Agency, with the support of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). Attendees discussed challenges in digital transformation, the labor market for ICT professionals, and how to meet demand for skilled digital professionals.
Vice President of Huawei Latin America and the Caribbean Michael Xue stated, “Our work in Latin America and the Caribbean, for Latin America and the Caribbean, consists of supporting the deployment of connection networks, providing cutting-edge and environmentally friendly technologies, and putting our knowledge and skills at the service of communities to train digital talent and bridge gaps”.
Director of the Regional Office of Education for America Latina and Caribbean of UNESCO (OREALC) Claudia Uribe described how, “The Covid-19 pandemic made clear the urgent need to close the digital gap and to make digital content, technology and connectivity available to all”.
Research by international consultancy IDC predicts that by 2026, the region will need to add 2.5 million ICT professionals to the current pool of 6.3 million. During the summit, experts explained that digital technologies are set to transform work in the coming decades, leading to radical changes in demand for talent.
Arun Sundararajan, Harold Price Professor of Entrepreneurship at New York University’s Stern School of Business said, “Two education policy imperatives will be key. We must build ‘scaffolding’ that helps talent reach the global market, and create gateways that allow talent of varying skill levels to access platforms of opportunity. We also require educational systems that will support workers who are displaced by automation as they transition to new occupations. The global focus of the 20th century was early-career college, the focus of the 21st century is mid-career transition.”
Huawei has launched a number of talent initiatives in Latin America and the Caribbean, helping train 50,000 individuals in recent years. It has also been running the flagship Seeds for the Future program since 2014, through which it has offered students nearly 1,800 scholarships to receive intensive training and visit the company's headquarters in Shenzhen, China. The company has also partnered with about 400 universities in the region to offer capacity building through the Huawei ICT Academy program. In addition, the Huawei Global ICT Competition and Developer Competition has enabled many students to earn invaluable experience.
President of Huawei Latin America Zhou Danjin expressed, “As a leading technology company, we are proud of our contributions to reduce digital gaps in various countries. The shortage of ICT talent is an urgent challenge that we must face alongside universities and governments by working harder and coordinating our efforts.”
The LAC ICT Talent Summit aims to serve as a multilateral platform for growing the talent pool of Latin America and the Caribbean, in response to the demand being generated by accelerating digital transformation.