Chile and Argentina have ranked 51st and 56th, respectively, on the World Economic Forum’s Human Capital Index. Both countries, according to the report, are making the most of tertiary education to increase the size of their skilled workforce.
Chile benefits significantly from a well-educated and healthy older population that remains economically active well into the 55-64 age band, but Argentina’s success comes largely from its high quality tertiary education.
“Chile’s core prime working age population (25-54) boasts the highest tertiary education attainment rate in Latin America – one in three receive a tertiary education – and the young generation currently enrolled in university continues the positive trend,” the report noted.
But both Chile and Argentina are still a long way from creating enough jobs for skilled workers, because the report says nearly 20% of youths in both the countries are unemployed.
Latin America as a whole scored in the middle range of the overall index. The good news is most of the countries in the region are increasingly achieving high basic education attainment rates, and the region only has a small gender gap when it comes to women’s labor force participation.
In Colombia, the report says, there is a large skills mismatch, with one in three 15-24 year-old Colombians currently classified as over-educated for their work, and with a mere 17% employed in high-skilled work.
More than half of all Colombian students graduate in business or a social science subject, while only 4% graduate in natural sciences.
Brazil, ranked in the lower half of the index, is paying a heavy price for ignoring the need to overhaul its education system and improve the quality of education. The Economic Forum says businesses in Brazil are struggling to hire skilled employees, but the country scored comparatively better in the index based on the quality of its on-the-job staff training and its skills diversity.
Venezuela and many Central American countries, including Honduras and Guatemala have performed poorly in the index. The report says incomplete primary education and child labor remain a problem in many Central American countries.