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The National Productivity Organization, Pakistan and APO Secretariat, organized an online workshop on Reskilling of the Workforce in the Service Sector, 16–18 May. It was attended by 22 participants from 12 APO member economies, including executives from SMEs, representatives of industrial associations, consultants providing training for service-sector SMEs, government officials, and researchers involved on industrial policy and development strategies for SMEs.
With automation and digitalization, the service sector has witnessed a significant transformation in customer experience and contactless operations. However, service employees who perform repetitive, face-to-face tasks are particularly susceptible to replacement. To enhance productivity in the service sector, it is essential to address policy distortions and invest in human capital. Reskilling plays a crucial role in this context, as it enables companies to train existing employees and expand their capabilities. Moreover, recruiting new staff members with skills that cannot be easily replaced by technology is vital for effective human resources management.
The workshop highlighted numerous opportunities for employees who acquire new skills to remain relevant in the evolving workforce. It offered insights into reskilling methods and emphasized the significance of skills that will be essential in the future with advances in next-generation technologies. Facilitated by five resource persons, one from the ROK, one from Malaysia, two from Pakistan, and one from Singapore, the workshop covered topics such as human skills needed for future work and vocational skills for senior workers in the gig economy, public–private partnerships for skill development, and tools for measuring skill mismatches in the digital economy. They also shared global approaches to reskilling and case studies from APO members.