Empowering Pakistani Youth to Unlock Global Opportunities

In today’s fast-paced race toward digitalization, the competition is not only fierce for organizations but also for the skilled individuals steering this transformative journey. The global digital economy, a behemoth set to reach $23 trillion by 2025, presents a substantial opportunity for global youth and, as far as we are concerned, for those within the rich talent pool of Pakistan.

To tap into this bonanza of global opportunities, it is imperative for the youth to master digital skills to an international standard. However, despite Pakistan holding a spot amongst the top five nations with the largest freelancer community, offering diverse digital services to clients worldwide, a significant gap exists between the potential of local talent and the opportunities accessible to them, if only they acquire the required skills to avail these opportunities.

When examining Pakistan’s IT landscape in comparison to other developing nations, the statistics are alarming. Although local IT exports reached US$2.1 billion in 2023, Pakistan’s overall contribution on a global scale is negligible, with the country not even securing a spot in the top 100 for IT services exports. This disparity is concerning, especially given the country’s untapped potential with a youth population of 60% and a teledensity close to 80%.

The constant predicament of brain drain further exacerbates the issue. The latest figures show that more than 860,000 talented individuals left Pakistan, signaling the highest exodus since 2015. Often misguided and fed on false dreams of a golden future abroad by recruitment agents and human traffickers, many emigrants face huge disappointment and suffering when they do manage to end up overseas. This is particularly true for the youth from middle or low-income families, who end up struggling abroad, living in precarious financial circumstances, or then returning to Pakistan with dashed dreams and depleted savings.

What can be done about this? The solution lies in breaking down skills development barriers for the youth in their own country, by enabling them to harness their potential, upgrade their skills, and become capable of competing for regular livelihood opportunities globally, while remaining in Pakistan.

Acquiring competitive skills is paramount in today’s global market, where fierce competition accompanies vast opportunities. Distinguishing oneself through practical, real-world skills becomes crucial. Thus, it is necessary to address this need by offering specialized courses in high-demand areas, ensuring that participants are not just ready to enter the market but are also poised to make their mark in it.

In addressing this need, both physical and online learning platforms emerge as transformative catalysts. One such initiative is Skills360 – an ecosystem designed to equip Pakistan’s youth with globally competitive skills. This platform aims to eliminate the necessity of leaving the homeland and families, sparing individuals the trials and tribulations associated with the pursuit of emigration. Skills360 provides access to state-of-the-art facilities, a curriculum tailored to the demands of the digital age, and guidance from industry-leading professionals, nurturing talent that can excel on the global stage.

Pakistan, a nation rich in talent, may have a long way to go in realizing its potential. Still, there lies a silver lining for the youngsters of this country. As a developing nation, Pakistan has historically lagged in seizing market-dominating transitions. However, the time for change is now. Through initiatives that offer proper guidance and mentoring, the country can empower its youth to not only participate in the global digital landscape but to lead and thrive in it.

This article has been written by Burhan Mirza. He is a life coach, an entrepreneur, and an angel investor, currently providing consultancy and mentorship to various IT companies across Pakistan

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