In India alone, nearly 13m people are joining the workforce every year, of which only 7% have received some form of vocational training. Even those who have such training can be ill-equipped to compete—only one-fifth of India’s 400,000 annual engineering graduates are considered employable by the nation’s software industry. While developed nations struggle with shrinking workforces and ageing populations, emerging markets such as India face demographic time bombs—so, either close the skills gap now or risk stagnation.
The annual Global Innovation Index ranks 142 nations on their capacity for innovation based on education, infrastructure and outputs. While most leaders are the wealthy nations you’d expect, a pack of emerging nations isn’t far behind.
Thanks to millions of jobs created over two decades, Asia’s middle class is booming; it could triple to 1.75bn by 2020. In emerging economies, pre-existing infrastructure, language skills and foreign investment heat up the job market, which can otherwise vary greatly by country.
North Carolina won the bragging rights to “First in Flight” after the Wright Brothers flew a simple plane made mostly of wood, canvas and wire at Kitty Hawk in 1903. More than a century later in Western North Carolina, workers at Asheville’s GE Aviation plant are the first in the world, handcrafting jet engine parts with new materials called Ceramic Matrix Composite that will revolutionize flight in years ahead. Asheville won the ground-breaking technology in an intense competition among seven states and cities vying for GE Aviation’s new facility, thanks mostly to the highly skilled 290 workers working at GE Aviation’s existing plant in the Sweeten Creek Industrial Park.
Rod Christie, CEO for Subsea Systems business, told the Review: “This year GE…