Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Kingdom scores low on human capital index

Kingdom scores low on human capital index

Students study at Wat Koh high school in Phnom Penh in 2014.
Students study at Wat Koh high school in Phnom Penh in 2014. Pha Lina

Kingdom scores low on human capital index

A report released yesterday by the World Economic Forum (WEF) underscores Cambodia’s poor performance at educating and training its citizens in order to develop a competitive workforce and put their skills to productive use.

The Kingdom ranked 100th out of 130 countries in terms of human capital development, well below most of its regional peers, according to the Human Capital Report 2016.

“A nation’s human capital endowment – the knowledge and skills embodied in individuals that enable them to create economic value – can be a more important determinant of its long-term success than virtually any other resource,” the report’s authors noted.

Published annually, the Human Capital Report ranks countries on how well they are developing and deploying their human capital for the demands of a constantly changing and globally competitive economy.

According to the report, a looming “Fourth Industrial Revolution” is creating seismic shifts that are affecting all industries, reshaping production, consumption and other economic factors.

“The very nature of work is changing, in part due to new technologies and their subsequent impact on business models, and in part because of new platforms that allow talent to connect to markets in wholly new ways,” WEF founder and executive chairman Klaus Schwab said in the report’s preface.

“The development of relevant talent will determine whether we all partake in the opportunities of the Fourth Industrial Revolution or experience its disruptions as bystanders.”

This year’s report – structured on 46 indicators that gauge education and job skill levels as well as economic participation – saw Cambodia’s ranking drop three notches to 100. The Kingdom scored far below most other ASEAN countries, with only Laos and Myanmar ranked lower, at 106th and 109th, respectively.

Cambodia’s low ranking reflects deficiencies in the country’s education system, with the poorest performance assigned to its 15-24 age bracket, which scored 109th overall.

While not a direct correlation, countries with the lowest proportion of GDP spent on education tend to score lower in the rankings. According to the World Bank, Cambodia spends about 2.6 per cent of GDP on education, the lowest among ASEAN countries excluding Myanmar.

For employers, the Kingdom’s low level of education and vocational training can make hiring a challenge. Local recruitment agencies and online job portals say that while many Cambodian job applicants have management skills, they often lack the technical skills that employers are seeking.

“There is still a lot that needs to be developed,” said Gijs Braakman, business development manager at Everjobs Cambodia. “Both hard and soft skills are missing . . . especially IT knowledge – from [software] skills to coding capabilities – which are skills demanded by employers in Cambodia and outside.”

One positive, he said, was that while the level of English could be improved, Cambodian job seekers exhibit a higher overall competence compared to neighbouring Thailand and Vietnam, ranked 48th and 68th, respectively.

However, the relatively low level of hard skills may be discouraging international employers from recruiting here.

“ASEAN regional integration has a lot of potential, but so far not a lot of demand from outside Cambodia [to recruit from its] workforce,” Braakman said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Two luxury hotels latest quarantine options for inbound travellers

    The Inter-Ministerial Committee to Combat Covid-19 has designated two luxury hotels as alternative quarantine options for travellers who wish to enter Cambodia through Phnom Penh International Airport – Sokha Phnom Penh Hotel & Residence and the Courtyard by Marriott Phnom Penh. In a notice detailing guidelines issued

  • Visa A holders get to quarantine at Himawari Hotel

    The Ministry of Health has permitted foreign diplomats, UN and International NGO officials to undergo quarantine at Himawari Hotel in the capital in case they do not have a separate place suitable for this purpose, but the government would not be responsible for the expenses.

  • Jabs for kids bring hope for school reopenings

    Cambodia is tentatively planning to reopen schools – at least at the secondary level – when the vaccination of children aged 12-17 is completed, even though daily transmissions and deaths in other age groups remain high. Schools across the country have been suspended since March 20, one month

  • China denies Mekong hacking

    As the US and its allies joined hands last week to expose what they allege to be China’s Ministry of State Security’s malicious cyber activities around the world, the attention also turned to Cambodia with the US Department of Justice claiming that four

  • Governor: Covid subsides in capital

    Phnom Penh municipal governor Khuong Sreng said the Covid-19 situation in the capital’s 14 districts has eased, with only two districts still recording a high number of infections. “Transmission cases in all districts are dropping, though they are relatively higher Meanchey and Por Sen Chey.

  • Hun Sen: Get 12-17 age group ready for Covid jabs

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has told parents of children aged 12-17 in Phnom Penh and the provinces of Kandal and Preah Sihanouk to get them ready for vaccinations soon. “There is a need to vaccinate children and youths aged 12 to 17. According to the statistics provided