Pakistan’s economy – The only way forward


The Pakistani economy is grappling with severe challenges, exacerbated by a reliance on IMF loan programs that, while necessary to stabilize the financial situation, often come with stringent conditions that disproportionately impact the poor. The high inflation rates and cuts in subsidies mandated by these loans have driven the cost of living to unprecedented levels, increasing poverty and hardship.

Compounding these economic woes is a backdrop of political instability, with frequent changes in government leadership undermining consistent policy implementation. The rupee’s weak standing against the dollar further aggravates the situation, driving up the cost of imports and widening the trade deficit. This economic turmoil has eroded national morale, with many Pakistanis losing confidence in the country’s financial future and their prospects for a better life.

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To steer the country out of economic turmoil, integrating technical (IT) and soft skills into the education and professional training landscape is increasingly vital for individual and national progress. This will develop hirable human capital and create more job opportunities in the long run.

The modern economy demands a balanced skill set, and the current gap between industry requirements for human resources and academic output is a significant hurdle. Addressing this through a concerted focus on technical and soft skills is essential for reducing unemployment and fostering sustainable growth.

The importance of learning technical (IT) and soft skills today cannot be overstated.

IT is the future and AI (artificial intelligence) is the way forward

These skills are the cornerstone of personal career growth, national economic development, and global competitiveness. By addressing the industry-academia gap and focusing on comprehensive skill development, Pakistan can reduce unemployment, foster innovation, and ensure sustainable economic progress.

Here are my two cents on the progressive course of action in the next 3 years.

Importance of Learning Technical (IT) Skills

Economic Growth and Employment Opportunities:

The IT sector is one of the fastest-growing industries globally, and Pakistan is no exception. With a burgeoning tech industry, the demand for skilled IT professionals is on the rise. According to the Pakistan Software Export Board (PSEB), the country’s IT exports have been growing steadily, reaching nearly $2.5 billion in 2024. However, a significant skills gap persists, contributing to an unemployment rate of approximately 6.9% as reported by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics in 2023. Bridging this gap can lead to increased job creation and economic stability.

GDP growth rate of Pakistan from previous year (10 years data including estimated)

Global Competitiveness:

Technical skills enable Pakistani professionals to compete on a global scale. With the rise of remote work and the gig economy, possessing IT skills opens up opportunities in international markets. Countries like India, Bangladesh, and the Philippines have capitalized on this trend, and Pakistan can follow suit by developing a robust IT workforce.

Innovation and Entrepreneurship:

Mastery of IT skills fosters innovation and entrepreneurship. Startups in tech-related fields are burgeoning, contributing to economic diversification. Initiatives such as the Innovista, National Incubation Center (NIC) support tech-driven startups, underscoring the importance of technical skills in driving economic progress.

Importance of Learning Soft Skills

Workplace Efficiency and Professionalism:

While technical skills are critical, soft skills such as communication, teamwork, and problem-solving are equally important. Employers seek individuals who can collaborate effectively, adapt to changing environments, and communicate clearly. A report by the World Economic Forum highlights that soft skills are essential for the jobs of the future.

innovista coworking sitting area

Bridging the Industry-Academia Gap:

One of the major challenges in Pakistan is the disconnect between what is taught in academic institutions and the skills required by the industry. Universities often focus heavily on theoretical knowledge, leaving graduates unprepared for the practical demands of the workplace.

Incorporating emerging and trending skills (demanded by the industry worldwide, focusing on AI) and soft skills training into the curriculum can help bridge this gap, making graduates more industry-ready and employable.

Leadership and Management:

Soft skills are crucial for leadership and management roles. As Pakistan’s economy grows, there will be an increasing need for individuals who can lead teams, manage projects, and drive organizational success. Developing soft skills ensures that professionals are equipped to take on these responsibilities.

Addressing the Skills Gap

To effectively address the skills gap in Pakistan, a multifaceted approach is needed:

Curriculum Overhaul:

Educational institutions must update their curricula to include both technical and soft skills training. Partnerships with industry leaders can ensure that the skills being taught are relevant and up-to-date.

Vocational Training and Certifications:

Providing access to vocational training and certification programs can help individuals gain the necessary technical skills. Organizations like the Punjab Skills Development Fund (PSDF) are already working towards this goal, but more widespread efforts are needed.

Public-Private Partnerships:

Collaboration between the government, private sector, and educational institutions can lead to the development of programs that address the specific needs of the job market. Initiatives like the Digital Pakistan Vision are steps in the right direction, but ongoing commitment and investment are crucial.

Focusing on the information technology (IT) sector presents a significant opportunity for Pakistan to achieve economic prosperity in the next three years. The IT industry, with its relatively low capital requirements and high potential for rapid growth, can be a game-changer for the country.

By investing in IT infrastructure, providing incentives for tech startups, and fostering a conducive environment for innovation, Pakistan can create a vibrant tech ecosystem.

Encouraging public-private partnerships and attracting foreign direct investment in this sector can further accelerate growth. Training programs and educational reforms aimed at producing a skilled IT workforce are essential. This will not only meet the demands of local tech companies but also position Pakistan as a competitive player in the global IT services market.

Moreover, promoting the export of IT services can significantly boost foreign exchange earnings, contributing to a more stable and robust economy. By capitalizing on the growing global demand for software development, cybersecurity, and digital solutions, Pakistan can expand its market reach.

Government support in the form of tax breaks, simplified regulations, and export facilitation can enhance the sector’s growth

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Written by Tauseef Sarwar

Digital Marketer with 15 Years of experience in Management & Marketing. SEO Consultant, specialising in Social Media Marketing & Branding. Adobe and Google Certified Professional.