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Global Skills Trends Shaping Workforce Development in 2022

Thursday, August 18, 2022

I’m excited to share Coursera’s 2022 Global Skills Report, an in-depth look at the state of skills globally. The Global Skills Report draws data from 100 million learners in more than 100 countries who have used Coursera to develop a new skill during the past year. The report benchmarks three of the most in-demand skill areas driving employment in the digital economy: business, technology, and data science. For the first time, this year’s report also highlights changes in ranking for each country and state-specific data for the US and India, where regional variations are notable.

The Global Skills Report highlights how the acceleration of digital transformation, inflation, and global instability are driving increased demand for the digital and human skills needed to thrive in the new economy. 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. 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.

Understanding the Global Skills Ranking

In the Global Skills Report, more than 100 countries are ranked against one another, with percentile rankings attributed to each skill proficiency. A country that shows 100 percent skill proficiency ranks at the top of the list of more than 100 countries, and a country at 0 percent ranks at the bottom.

Coursera breaks out each group’s percentile rankings into these four categories based on quartiles:

  • Cutting-edge (76 percent or above)
  • Competitive (51–75 percent)
  • Emerging (26–50 percent)
  • Lagging (25 percent or below)

Global trends in the report include:

  • Entry-level or “gateway” certificate course enrollments among women reached 40 percent in 2021, up significantly from 25 percent in 2019.
  • There is a strong correlation between skills proficiency, GDP, and broadband access.
  • Developed countries saw more learners acquiring human skills including change management and resilience.
  • The most popular business and technology skills globally in the last year were leadership and management, probability and statistics, and theoretical computer science.
  • Learners also focused on courses that develop the skills needed to understand the COVID-19 pandemic.

Readers can also explore country-specific insights, including these about the US:

  • The US remained flat in overall skills proficiency at 29th, trailing countries in Asia and Europe.US learners in the Northeast, upper Midwest, and along the West Coast had the highest skills proficiency in business, while those in the South lagged behind.
  • Idaho showed the highest levels of technology skills in the country, outpacing technology hubs like California and Massachusetts.
  • Learners in the US increased focus on human skills amid rapid workforce changes.
  • The US achieved greater gender parity in overall course enrollments, but women still lagged behind men in STEM fields.
  • The US remained behind the curve in math skills.

With more than 100 million learners, 7,000 institutions, and 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.

To download the full report and explore insights unique to a country or region, visit

About the Author

Jeff Maggioncalda joined Coursera as CEO in June 2017. He previously served for 18 years as the founding CEO at Financial Engines Inc, a company co-founded by economist and Nobel Prize winner William Sharpe. Financial Engines grew rapidly under Jeff's leadership, providing high-quality online investment advice that has helped millions of people save and prepare for retirement. Jeff has also worked as a consultant at McKinsey & Company and Cornerstone Research, and continues to serve as a Director of Silicon Valley Bank, Inc. He holds an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business and a Bachelor's degree in Economics and English from Stanford University. In his free time, Jeff is a lifelong learner and proud dad, and enjoys studying music theory and spending time with his wife and three daughters.

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