(photo: #GMIS2020)
12.08.2020, 04:54

Poor Technology Skills Hampering Covid-19 Recovery

Commercial & Manufacturing Facilities, Automation, Robotics & Artificial Intelligence (AI), Technology

A technology skills deficit is impeding the global recovery from COVID-19 according to participants from PwC, IBM and the European Parliament in this year's virtual Global Manufacturing and Industrialisation Summit (#GMIS2020).


Speaking in the event's most recent panel discussion was Harald Kayser, Chairman and Senior Partner at PwC Europe, who said: "Currently, in the Western world in particular, there is a gap between the skill set of the workforce and what is required to maximise the use of the technology. Digital upskilling is a key factor and I think this is something that can really help accelerate the productive side of technology after the COVID-19 crisis."


"The stimulus programmes currently driven by many governments across the globe are the right answer.


"However, the question is whether we concentrate these programmes on the areas which need to be accelerated. We are investing a lot in our workforce, our clients are doing the same, and stimulus programmes run by governments should go in the same direction."


He also addressed reports that women have been particularly disadvantaged by Covid-19 lockdowns, when he said: "At the same time, women are still mainly in charge of child care, and therefore they are affected not only by remote working but also by home schooling. It might be a good chance for men to change the role model."


Guillermo Miranda, VP and Head of CSR at IBM, observed: "Digital platforms and touchless technologies will be centre-stage in the process of reassessing and emerging from this crisis in a different way.


"We have to think about how to remodel some of these systems and how to redirect government resources towards the right places. That will require a lot of innovation and creativity."


Engin Eroglu, a Member of the European Parliament (MEP), argued the pandemic had provided a tough learning curve for many people in terms of new technology. He said: "We need to better understand how we can use our resources and use technology to achieve our goals.


"This is something we see clearly now because we had a lot of pressure during this pandemic. This is why it is important to have clear framework conditions."


What will the new normal look like? 

In light of the disruption caused by the pandemic, companies should seize the opportunity to reassess their priorities and consider making permanent changes to how they operate, particularly when it comes to issues like sustainability and social responsibility, the speakers said. The rapid switch to remote work and distance learning, for example, had called into question the need to travel so much in the future.


According to Kayser, sustainability and climate change are the biggest challenges in our world and the travel industry has a major influence on that. He added: "As companies become keener to reduce their emissions footprint, travelling less could help achieve these goals, while saving time and money."


Miranda argued: "The pandemic has shown us very clearly the fragility of our society and how vulnerable we are about things that we take for granted.


"This is the time to show that companies have a role to play in society that goes beyond generating profits. 2020 will be known as the year of the pandemic, but also the year that we learned how to live differently."


Hosted by journalist and news anchor Laura Buckwell, the virtual panel discussion on Working Through the Pandemic: ‘Cocooning’ versus ‘Herd Immunity’ is the seventh session of the #GMIS2020 Digital Series that will lead up to the Virtual Summit on September 4-5, 2020. The session is available to watch on-demand at


Through its Virtual Editions, the third edition of the Global Manufacturing and Industrialisation Summit (#GMIS2020), a joint initiative by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), is bringing together high-profile thought-leaders and business pioneers from around the world to shape the future of manufacturing, discuss the impact of pandemics on global value chains, and highlight the role of fourth industrial revolution (4IR) technologies in restoring economic and social activities.


Participants can watch the GMIS Virtual Summit and Digital Series by registering on the following link: The programme agenda is available on the following link:



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