5 Reasons Why We Need To Act Now!

Mirza Salman Hossain Beg
7 min readOct 15, 2023
Photo by Clark Tibbs on Unsplash

The following article is a collection of my reflections on the skill and aspiration mismatch of the Bangladeshi youth and the possible ways we can address them. Each of the 5 points is worth debating at length. Instead of only diagnosing the problems in the system, which is essential, I want to welcome everyone to discuss measurable and actionable solutions for the long term.

I believe Bangladesh has a narrow window of about 5–6 years to fix some of its core challenges as a nation. Building a truly educated and skilled human capital is one of the most critical of all.

1. The Demographic Dividend is a Lie

For years, people with power and positions from all sectors have piggy-bagged on the term demographic dividend to sell their stories and make a lot for themselves in the background. While I cannot question everyone’s intention, I strongly challenge the actual measurable outcome all their efforts produced. We are a country of approximately 8.4 crore (84 million) people below the age of 25, with a median age of 27 years. But, when it comes to the actual value creation from this young population, we are rather poor. According to a report by The Daily Star, the graduate unemployment rate in the country is more than 30%, while if you take in the underemployment rate (those who are paid less than they could make), it is higher than 60%! Whenever I review a resume or interview with shortlisted candidates, I get scared to realize how poorly skilled and unprepared they are to perform the basic tasks expected of their role. On the one hand, we aspire to become a developed economy; on the other hand, we struggle to find a market-ready engineer or the technical resources required to build our local businesses. And this is just the tip of the iceberg.

The population is aging, and the frustration with the lack of opportunities due to poor preparation is growing unbearable. We are far from ripping the benefit of our demographic advantage. We have created a massive demographic deficit instead. If we don’t stop being pretentious about the reality of basic professional skills and competencies among youth, the country will soon no longer be livable for many of us.

How we evaluate the skills and competencies of the youth will determine how well we accelerate their skills development for good.

How we benchmark our graduates with global talent will determine how prepared we will become to compete in the global talent pool.

We have a small window of opportunity open before us. We are running out of time. We need to act now.

2. Global Sweat Shop or the Global Talent Hub?

One of the biggest strengths of Bangladesh for decades is its cheap labor. The reason some of the industries are still bringing in big money for the economy is due to us beating competing nations on the price. But this is not sustainable anymore. We are already on the verge of losing on many fronts for failing to compete in the price + quality due to fierce competition. And then we have AI and tech innovation that’s already taking away many entry-level jobs across the industries.

With the enormous young population at our disposal, we must reimagine how to upskill them to become high-skilled professionals.

Instead of exporting cheap laborers abroad, we must build a pipeline of high-skilled professionals to meet the local and global talent demands.

Instead of flaunting our status as the 2nd biggest freelancer contributor in the world, who don’t make any substantial amount of money for the economy (these are people who make t-shirt designs, do photo touchups or data-entry work- earning below minimum wage), we need to train the next generation of full-stack freelancers who will turn our gig ecogvfbnomy into a multi-billion dollars market.

If we cannot produce at least 1 million engineers in the next five years in Bangladesh, we will have to hire them from neighboring countries to fill our local demand. For context, India has 10 million engineers today.

If we cannot improve critical thinking, creativity, problem-solving, communication, and English language skills, millions of graduates will be unemployed, depressed, and turn into cheap laborers for the world.

Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash

3. Following the Wrong Role Models

The skills competency of the youth workforce is plagued with mediocrity, and they are directionless, thanks to the modern-day ‘skill and career gurus’ who won’t even qualify for a day job if they ever appear for an interview. And yet, millions of youth are worshiping these people and following their motivational talks and preaching, hoping it will transform their future. This is highly alarming, and we must discuss this reality before it is too late.

Universities are also failing to keep up with the changing skills landscape in the world. 500,000+ students graduate from universities each year after spending four valuable years of their lives and between 4–10 lacs of student debt (if you calculate the total amount they pay for tuition fees + their monthly expenses for four years). The best outcome for these university graduates is a job with an average monthly salary of BDT 20,000. A school drop-out Uber/Pathao driver makes double the money.

The books taught at the universities or the YouTube videos the students watched for four years yield no value when facing the real world for an employment opportunity. The university teachers have no connection with the private job sectors (the skills required to make their students employable), and the career gurus only care about the likes, views, and shares on their social, so students are left without the jobs they thought they would get after so much investment and devotion.

The right role models are crucial for a growing economy. Job opportunities in Bangladesh and through remote channels abroad are abundant. The market needs ready, skilled resources to land such opportunities. To be a qualified professional in any field, one must learn the skills and crafts from a professionally trained and experienced person in the respective industry.

Points to ponder: If you won’t ride a plane because the pilot is not professionally trained and certified, why are you making your most significant life decisions based on someone who has yet to figure out their own?

Pro Tip: Any skills development ideas or hacks that sound too easy to learn are more likely a scam. Don’t fool yourself. It takes real hard work, blood, sweat, and tears to acquire something valuable. Shortcuts = Guaranteed Failure.

4. The Life’s Battle for the Young Generation

Every generation ever lived had their unique fight to survive and make a living for themselves. Our parents were the generation that survived the trauma of the liberation war. Our older brothers and sisters navigated a broken society without having access to computers and the internet. My generation had early access to technology, but we had nobody to tell us how to make the most out of it, and we had to figure out this brave new world on our own.

Today’s young generation is living with the worst information overdose, an abundance of digital frauds trying to manipulate their natural optics (this includes the social media companies, too), and endless sources of negativity that are screwing up their mental health at an unprecedented scale.

I see a terrible disconnect between the 20-year-olds and the 30/40-year-olds in the society. They are just a decade apart, having passed quite similar life challenges given the social circumstances, but they are missing out on the wealth of learning opportunities from each other due to the unnecessary disconnect.

We have to climb these mountains (obstacles) ahead of us with generational wisdom instead of building inter-generational divide.

Points to ponder: Do we have any platform that allows or promotes collaboration and exchange between generations to co-create the solutions we need in society? What would such a platform look like if we were to build an inter-generational community of problem solvers?

5. Success Is A Marathon

We only need to invest the next four years in our lives to transform our future for the next 4 decades. It doesn’t matter where we stand today. For some, it might be a zero state today; for others, it could be even a negative state. But if we truly want to change the trajectory of our lives into something extraordinary, all we need is to play consistently with a laser-focused strategy for the next 4 years. If we only allocate 1/3rd of the total living hours of the next 4 years, that is over 11,600 hours, into building our craft and collecting experiences, we are destined to be among the top in whatever field we choose for ourselves.

If you started university this year, regardless of which university it is, you have the golden opportunity to be among the top 1% by the time you graduate in the next 4 years.

If you’re graduating or just graduated and still feeling lost, the next 4 years of your early 20s can be the foundation for a magical, professional career ahead of you.

If you’ve already been into jobs for a few years and still feel stuck, don’t think for a second. You, too, can transform yourself in the coming years if you choose to be disciplined and learn from the best in the industry.

There’s no point waiting for society or the circumstances around us to change before we can start our transformational journey.

If living a better life than your current one is a priority, you are already a step closer to your transformative journey.

Dive into it.

If you’re interested in discussing and debate about the issues addressed in this piece, drop me a line! I would love to learn what you’re all feeling about these challenges that we are going through as a nation and discuss how we can mitigate them faster for a better future. 📧



Mirza Salman Hossain Beg

I write for dreamers, creators, and eternal optimists who want to accelerate life for the better. For my latest work, follow me at