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Coursera CEO details ‘huge migration of people’ looking online to get new jobs

Coursera CEO Jeff Maggioncalda joins Yahoo Finance Live to discuss the open online course provider's 2022 global skills report, the decline in U.S. tech skills, the gender gap, consumer demand, and labor market trends.

Video Transcript

[MUSIC PLAYING]

- Welcome back to Yahoo Finance Live, everyone. Coursera is out with its 2022 global skills report, revealing a decline in US proficiency in technology and data science skills, trailing countries in Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. For more on this shifting landscape in skills and learning, is Coursera CEO, Jeff Maggioncalda. Jeff, great to have you here with us today. So, help us dive into the data here. Because over the last year and change, people have been trying to upskill where they've either been displaced from the workforce, or have just been looking for a new opportunity to step into.

JEFF MAGGIONCALDA: Well, yeah, I mean, a lot of what the report really shows is not the skill of everybody in a country. We have over 100 million learners on Coursera all around the world. It's really the skill of people in that country taking courses on Coursera. So a lot of what it reflects is, just as you said, a huge migration of people online, looking to learn new skills to get new jobs. And so, some of the movement is actually due to new populations of people who are saying, you know what, I can do better than my current job, I can go learn skills and earn a credential, maybe get a hiring-- a better paying job with more flexibility.

- So it's less about-- Jeff, lack of proficiency in certain areas, than it is a reflection of the geographic and professional migrations that we have seen, right. So what on that front then, was sort of most surprising to you, or revealing to you about what this showed?

JEFF MAGGIONCALDA: Well, there was-- so overall as a country, US ranks about the same as we ranked last year. Across about 100 countries, we ranked 29th on average in Business Technology and Data Science. One of the things I thought was pretty interesting is, Idaho jumped way up in their proficiency in Mobile development. I think-- I don't know for sure, but I think it's a lot of people moving, from the Bay Area out to Boise, with this remote workforce. I mean, I think one of the major trends that we're seeing is, the accessibility of job skilling is much higher than it's ever been before, because you could do it online. The availability of content at credentials is higher. And increasingly, people can do jobs remotely, especially with some of these attractive entry level digital jobs. So we are seeing people move, we're also seeing people embrace these new professional certificates, especially women. So we have seen a huge increase in the number of women taking, not just courses, but entry level professional certificates, and also STEM related courses. We're now at 50-50 overall in the US, in terms of women learners on Coursera, compared to men.

- To what extent can we annex the wage growth that we've seen, in correlation there to some of the upskilling that's also taking place on the employment situation and broader economic front?

JEFF MAGGIONCALDA: I think a lot of it. I mean, if you think about what happens, if you don't have enough supply, prices go-- relative to the demand, prices go up. A lot of folks during the pandemic, I think, realized a couple of things. Number one, I like flexibility. Number two, my job is pretty hard, I think there are better jobs out there. And number three, I can get my self skilled up for those jobs. Those jobs pay, on average-- I say those jobs, we have about 21 entry level professional certificates on Coursera right now. They don't require any college degree or any background prior work experience. On average, they pay over $50,000 a year. And so, I do think that part of the wage growth is competition for labor in every position in the US. But frankly, there is a mix, were people are moving more into these higher paying entry level digital jobs. They just pay better than a barista job, or say a bank teller.

- Hey, Jeff, I want to move to the company for the final question, because like so many, and like so many relatively recent entrants, in the market in particular, your shares are down pretty sharply today, I think around 40%. This, as you guys, are still seeing pretty speedy growth here. So, I mean, what are the next six months look like for you, as perhaps we might see a slowing job market, for example.

JEFF MAGGIONCALDA: Yeah, well, you know, it's interesting. In-- our revenue growth in 2019 was 30%, in 2020 was 59%, in 2021, we did 41%. All organic. And so, our growth has been great. I mean, obviously the market has a lot of concerns right now about any high growing company. Pretty much like every company these days. What might that mean for the future of Coursera? Our view is-- and this is pretty obvious, the world is changing at such a rate. Jobs are going away because they're getting automated, and jobs are being created. But people need new skills to get those jobs. We've also seen, historically, education is countercyclical. It is highly likely that people say, yeah, the job market is actually getting a little bit tougher out there, I need to skill up, maybe get a college degree, maybe get a professional certificate, some other credential to stay competitive in the labor force. Generally speaking, tough economies often are good for education providers.

- Well, we'll check in and see how that shakes out over the next course of the year. Coursera CEO, Jeff Maggioncalda, good to catch up with you. Thanks for being with us this morning.

JEFF MAGGIONCALDA: Thank you for having me.