“There is a fracture in the pipeline from education to the workforce. We are leaking talent. We need to do something about the talent pool of our future.”
Gib Bulloch, Executive Director of Accenture Development Partnerships
On September 19, GBC-Education hosted a special event, at the 2013 UN Global Compact Leaders Summit. Bulloch, a featured panelist, laid out the challenges of the breakage between educational opportunities and workforce needs in the future.
Noting that Accenture will hire over 70,000 employees worldwide in the next year, Bulloch stressed the critical importance that education will play in Accenture’s ability to hire a workface capable of meeting its internal needs, especially in emerging markets. Given that 57 million primary age children are currently out of school, their ability will be limited without urgent action.
The panel, hosted by GBC-Education Chair Sarah Brown included high-level representatives from GBC-Education members LEGO, Discovery Communications, Hess Corporation, and Accenture. The panel discussed best practices for business to engage responsibly in global education.
We learned that in recent years, corporate social responsibility has become an integral part of business operations and an expectation by consumers, investors, and society alike. Highlighting this smart investment, the audience learned that investing in education:
Saves Lives: over the past 40 years, an increase in women’s education has been attributed to the prevention of over 4 million child deaths.
Boosts Wages and Strengthens the Local Workforce: One additional year of schooling can increase a woman’s earnings 10 to 20%.
Promotes Economic Growth: Getting all children into primary education, while raising learning standards, could boost economic growth by 2% annually in low income countries.
Expands Business Opportunities: From a brand perspective, consumers have indicated a willingness to buy – and reward – socially-conscious brands.
In the long run, not only is business engagement critical to future workforce capacities, it is a mutually beneficial for society and business. “The child born tomorrow will be an economic asset in twenty years,” echoed Bulloch. Certainly, the time for business engagement in global education is now.