PHNOM PENH, Jan. 20 (Xinhua) -- Cambodia should consider developing industry transformation maps in key sectors to enable the transition to the fourth industrial revolution (4IR) with adequate investment in skills development for new and repositioned jobs, said a new study by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) released on Wednesday.
The finding is one of six key recommendations emerging from ADB's study on "Reaping the Benefits of Industry 4.0 Through Skills Development in Cambodia."
The study examines the garment and tourism industries in Cambodia both of which are important for growth, employment, international competitiveness, and 4IR.
It finds that 4IR technologies would eliminate jobs in the garments and tourism industries, but these would be offset by the increase in demand arising from higher productivity, potentially generating net job increases of 39 percent and 2 percent, respectively.
While the government and industry are keen to promote 4IR skills, employer surveys in the two industries reveal a limited understanding of 4IR technologies.
It indicated that only 28 percent and 35 percent of garment manufacturing and tourism employers surveyed agreed or strongly agreed when asked whether they have a good understanding of 4IR technologies and their relevance to their companies.
Despite the overall positive net employment effect in both industries, the study warns there is no guarantee that displaced workers can seamlessly move into newly created jobs without adequate and timely investments in skills development.
Job displacement is also more likely to impact women which make up around 81 percent of Cambodia's garment manufacturing industry, the study said.
"While 4IR could be transformative for jobs and skills in Cambodia, we must address the potentially disproportionate impact on women," said ADB country director for Cambodia Sunniya Durrani-Jamal.
"We must improve knowledge of 4IR technologies and their benefits, support enterprises including small and medium enterprises to adopt advanced technologies and offer support for re-training and reskilling programs including through tax incentives to ensure that no one is left behind," she added.
ADB principal education specialist Shanti Jagannathan said as 4IR technologies spread rapidly, extensive investments in digital skills will improve the chances of the young and old to access higher-quality jobs and lower the risk of job losses.
"Now is the time to re-think delivery of skills using virtual platforms and mobile technologies, and develop agile training institutions with courses and credentials that match market needs," she said.
While the COVID-19 pandemic is accelerating digital transformation, the study finds that companies deploying 4IR technologies are likely to recover faster from the disruptions caused by the pandemic and be more resilient in the future. Enditem