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U.S. learners show declining proficiency in technology and data science skills, lagging countries in Asia-Pacific, Europe, and the Middle East, according to latest Global Skills Report on reskilling trends from the online learning platform Coursera. 

However, U.S. learners show a greater proficiency in essential business skills including marketing, leadership and management, and strategy and operations, as institutions place greater emphasis on decision-making and planning skills, the report found. 

“The Great Resignation and automation are mandating stronger investments in human capital, as institutions must prioritize developing the high-demand digital and human skills required to build a competitive and equitable workforce,” said Jeff Maggioncalda, Coursera CEO.  

“Our data shows these skills are not equally distributed, and students and low-wage workers need access to flexible, affordable, and fast-tracked pathways to entry-level digital jobs that offer a foundation for a stronger and more inclusive economy.” 

The 2022 Global Skills Report draws data from 100 million learners in more than 100 countries who have used Coursera during the past year and benchmarks three of the most in-demand skill areas driving employment in the digital economy: business, technology and data science.  

This year’s report also highlights changes in ranking for each country, and state-specific data for the U.S. and India, where regional variations are notable.  

Key U.S. insights from the report include: 

  • The U.S. remained flat in overall skills proficiency at 29th, trailing countries in Asia & Europe. Business skills proficiency rose in the U.S., with key areas like leadership and management increasing from 40% in 2021 to 67% in 2022. However, technology skills proficiency overall dropped significantly from 69% in 2021 to 43% this year. Proficiency in data science also fell sharply from 73% last year to 54% in 2022. 
  • Learners in the U.S. increased focus on human skills amid rapid workforce changes. Workforce disruption caused by the pandemic and the pace of automation is forcing businesses to quickly adapt. Human skills like resilience, project management, decision making, planning, storytelling, and experiments were increasingly popular among U.S. business learners, as organizations worked to navigate change. 
  • The U.S. remains behind the curve in math skills. Proficiency in mathematics among U.S. learners dropped sharply from 56% in 2021 to 40% in 2022. This lags countries throughout Europe including Germany at 81% and the U.K. at 78% proficiency. Maine, Washington, and New Hampshire had the highest levels of math proficiency in the U.S., while Mississippi, Louisiana, and Tennessee finished in the bottom three. 

Global trends in the report include: 

  • Entry-level or “gateway” certificate course enrollments among women reached 40% in 2021, up significantly from 25% in 2019. Certificates, such as Google IT Support and Google Data Analytics, provide a clear pathway to gain skills needed for high-demand, entry-level digital jobs. These courses require approximately 240 total learning hours, which can be completed in just six months at 10 hours per week. 
  • There is a strong correlation between skills proficiency, GDP, and broadband access. Wealthier countries scored higher in overall skills proficiency, matched by those with high levels of internet access. 
  • Developed countries saw more learners acquiring human skills including change management and resilience. Learners in developing countries were more focused on digital skills through courses like supply chain systems and mobile architecture. 

Coursera was launched in 2012 by two Stanford Computer Science professors, Andrew Ng and Daphne Koller, with a mission to provide universal access to world-class learning. It is now one of the largest online learning platforms in the world, with 102 million registered learners.  

Coursera partners with over 250 leading university and industry partners to offer a broad catalog of content and credentials, including courses, Specializations, professional certificates, guided projects, and bachelor’s and master’s degrees. With over 100 million learners, 7,000+ institutions, and more than 5,000 courses from 250 of the world’s leading universities and industry educators, Coursera has one of the largest data sets for identifying and measuring skill trends.