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A report by a market intelligence organisation, International Data Corporation, released last week revealed that our local workforce is not ready to embrace Industrial Revolution 4.0 (IR 4.0). The report also warned that Malaysia may lose its competitiveness if it doesn’t pull up its socks in preparing for this global technological wave.

As an entrepreneur and employer, this is worrying. IR 4.0 means being at the forefront of Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, Automation, “smart” technology, just to name a few areas. If our workforce do not possess the skills sets needed in this new economic ecosystem, we’d be left behind.

As it is, many of our graduates have poor command of English and lack self confidence. This becomes worse if we expect the same people to upskill so that they could have working knowledge in areas that they were not taught in universities or schools. To make matters even more complicated, knowledge in these areas evolve at breakneck speed!

If our workforce do not possess these skill sets, investors may flee to countries where the human capital are better able to embrace IR 4.0. As it is, emerging economies like Vietnam are already on investors’ radar as these countries make strides to reform their education systems.

Likewise, the only way we can be IR 4.0 ready is to incorporate new skills sets in our education system, starting from primary school. I am glad that computer coding is now part of our education syllabus but we need to step up efforts to avoid being swept by this technological wave.