The World Economic Forum (WEF) warned Wednesday in its latest report that only 62 percent of human capital has been developed globally, due to inadequate focus on lifelong learning and failure to develop high-skilled opportunities.
According to its Human Capital Report 2017, among the 130 countries and regions measured, only 25 nations have tapped 70 percent of their people's human capital or more, while the majority of countries leveraging between 50 percent and 70 percent of their human capital.
WEF explained that efforts to fully realize people's economic potential, in countries at all stages of economic development, are falling short due to failures to translate investment in education during the formative years into opportunities for higher-quality work during the working lifetime.
"Accumulation of skills does not end at a formal education, and the continuous application and accumulation of skills through work is part of human capital development," said the report.
While expanding education access and undertaking curricula reform are critical for ensuring that future generations are prepared for a changing labor market, the report emphasized the vital nature of continuous skilling, upskilling and reskilling through the workforce.
"This requires employers to provide learning opportunities to their workers and see these as investments, governments to take a holistic view to broadening and deepening the skills-specialization and complexity of work across their economies, and individuals to see learning as a lifelong activity," added the report.
According to the report, the human capital in smaller European countries such as Norway, Finland and Switzerland is the most developed, as well as large economies such as the United States and Germany.
The best-performing countries in East Asia and the Pacific region are Singapore (11), Japan (17) and the Republic of Korea (27). China ranks the 34th, ahead of the other BRICS nations except Russia (16).