Digital transformation, automation, and globalization are reshaping the labor market and creating an unprecedented need for reskilling and upskilling worldwide. The rise of generative AI further accelerates new workforce imperatives as businesses embrace the transformative power of this technology. 

Every year, Coursera presents a deep dive into various countries to unlock and understand the skills trends that are shaping the global workforce. The fifth annual Global Skills Report has been published, drawing on data from millions of learners on Coursera to help leaders in business, government, and higher education understand the rapidly changing skills landscape and the availability of skilled talent worldwide. 

Emerging talent and technology hubs are redefining the idea of a globalized workforce, with in-demand skills becoming more distributed. The global rise in enrollments for industry micro-credentials corresponds with the simultaneous rise of remote work, bringing with it unprecedented career opportunities for people around the globe. 

Key global findings:

  • Rising demand for STEM education and industry micro-credentials for digital jobs. STEM course demand has increased to 23.6 million annual enrollments globally as of March 31, 2023. An increase of 1.8 million from the previous year, with women accounting for 35% of enrollments.  Entry-level Professional Certificate enrollments grew to 3.4 million globally, up 61% year-over-year, with STEM certificates amassing 2.3 million enrollments, up 47% year-over-year. Low-income countries and regions have the greatest enrollment growth in entry-level Professional Certificates, including the Philippines (253% increase), Brazil (231%), Pakistan (228%), Indonesia (176%), and Sub-Saharan Africa (80%). 
  • Learners in lower and middle-income countries prioritize digital skills more than high-income countries. Within these countries, learners are more likely to invest in acquiring skills such as software architecture, mobile development, and programming principles, enabling them to participate in local and remote talent opportunities.  With learners in India and Nigeria second and third only to the U.S. in Professional Certificate enrollments, with 654,000 and 142,000 respectively.
  • AI skills are trending globally across education levels. Learners with postgraduate degrees are more likely to invest in advanced AI skills over-indexing learners with less formal education in subjects such as  artificial neural networks (1.24x), applied machine learning(1.18x), and computer vision(1.22x). While  learners with less education are focused on foundational digital skills needed to enable and implement AI technologies in the workplace such as network architecture and programming languages. Learners in Europe are more likely to invest in AI skills than other regions. Top skills include artificial neural networks, applied machine learning and deep learning, with learners in Germany more likely than learners in any other country to enroll in AI related courses.  
  • Countries sustain gender parity in online learning. North America has the highest share of women learners of all regions globally with 51%, including Canada (55%) and the U.S. (51%), followed by Latin America (49%). Outside of North America, many emerging markets have closed the gender gap in online learning, such as the Philippines (51%), Thailand (51%), Mexico (51%), Spain (50%), Chile (50%), and Colombia (50%).