AWS Public Sector Blog

Announcing new report on digital skills training for the changing workforce in Asia Pacific and Japan

Digital technologies are rapidly transforming industries and organizations, delivering new capabilities in just weeks, or even days, that would have previously taken months or years. At Amazon Web Services (AWS), we have witnessed incredible growth in demand from customers for digitally skilled professionals over the past decade. This demand increased dramatically during the COVID-19 pandemic as more interactions shifted online and the cloud became a vital tool for organizations to digitally transform to keep up with the new normal.

To better understand this rapidly evolving workforce landscape and help our customers address barriers to digital skilling, AWS commissioned the strategy and economics consulting firm AlphaBeta to examine the skills needs of organizations across Australia, India, Indonesia, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, and South Korea. The research surveyed 7,193 digitally skilled workers in both technology and non-technology roles, and 2,166 employers across the region, with representation from public, private, and nonprofit sectors of different sizes and industries.

Released today, AlphaBeta’s new report, “Building Digital Skills for the Changing Workforce,” shows the critical need for workers and employers to increase digital skills knowledge and maximize the benefits of technology. The research found that the seven countries studied collectively will need to train an estimated 86 million more workers over the next year in digital skills to keep pace with technological advancements – equivalent to 14% of their current total workforce.

This blog post outlines key insights from the report and provides examples for how governments, employers, training providers, and the technology industry can come together to meet this challenge.This infographic summarizes key insights from the report, including how digital skills, especially those related to cloud, are increasingly important; how workers are not getting trained fast enough; and how collective effort is needed to unlock future workforce potential. These highlights are described in more detail below.

Cloud computing and cybersecurity rank among top 10 urgently needed digital skills

The report’s findings demonstrate the urgency for new skills while pinpointing the industry areas that will be in highest demand. Leading among these skills is the ability to use cloud-based tools, like cloud developer tools, cloud-based communication software, accounting software, and customer relationship management (CRM) software.

As more organizations transition to the cloud, the need to maintain the trust of their beneficiaries grows. This means making sure organizations uphold the highest levels of security, prevent data loss, and comply with data privacy regulations. Cybersecurity is the second most in-demand skills area, with specific requirements for skills in developing and deploying protocols and tools for digital ethics and security.

The research also found a strong demand for cloud skills, reflecting the rapid adoption of cloud technology across the region. The top 10 in-demand skills include advanced cloud computing abilities like cloud architecture design and the ability to migrate on-premises infrastructure to the cloud. Cloud adoption has become a critical part of organizations’ digital transformation process, given the ease, flexibility, and scalability that the cloud offers.

Employers and workers understand the looming digital skills crunch

The report shows that workers understand the need for digital skills in their professional lives, with 88% saying they needed more digital skills to cope with changes in their jobs due to the pandemic, and 64% feeling they would require training in cloud-related skills by 2025 to progress in their careers. The report demonstrates that digital skills training benefits employers: 85% of organizations in the region stated that digital skills training has helped fast-track digitization goals, while 90% saw a lift in employee satisfaction, and 88% said it improved employee productivity.

However, although 97% of surveyed organizations recognized the need to train their workers in digital skills, only 29% have implemented plans to do so. The report found that 93% of organizations and workers faced barriers to accessing the digital skills they needed. The two most common barriers are the limited awareness of training options available and a lack of time to pursue training. This shows a training shortfall that could hinder growth in the workforce and entire economies.

How the public and private sector can meet the digital skills challenge

According to AlphaBeta, if these countries are to meet the goal of training the number of skilled workers that organizations need, governments, training providers, and employers must work together. AWS is deeply committed to addressing this challenge and we recognize the need to urgently work with industry and government to take immediate action.

For governments, AlphaBeta recommends promoting high-demand digital skills courses through online training portals, while employers can leverage no-cost industry training courses to upskill their workers. For instance, the Skill Finder portal in Australia connects the Australian workforce and small- to medium-sized businesses to digital skills training courses. The platform contains over 1,000 digital micro-skills courses developed by leading technology companies like AWS.

For employers, AWS helps build digital skills within their teams through programs like AWS Skills Guild, a comprehensive skills enablement program that builds cloud fluency. It has been rolled out with customers like the National Australia Bank (NAB), Korean Air, and Globe Telecom. The report recommends that training providers should work with technology experts, such as those from educational institutions and technology companies, to develop courses that meet industry standards. One such program is Cloud Ready SG, a holistic digital and cloud technology skilling program developed in collaboration with the Singapore Government and AWS, designed to drive inclusive growth in training the current and future Singapore workforce.

Governments can work with industry to develop micro-skills training courses to help workers upskill quickly to broaden their employment opportunities and bridge skills gaps. The micro-credential system developed by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA), which certifies the achievement of skills at a smaller scale, is an international best practice in this regard.

Fostering digital skills in underserved communities

One of report’s key findings is the need to provide training to underserved communities, including women, at-risk youth, unemployed individuals, rural communities, and low-skilled migrant workers, as these groups tend to face greater challenges in accessing digital skills training opportunities.

AWS believes that the opportunities in digital careers should be accessible to anyone with a willingness to learn, which is why we are spending hundreds of millions of dollars to provide no-cost training worldwide as part of our effort to help 29 million people globally grow their technical skills by 2025. Anyone with an Internet connection and a desire to learn can access AWS Skills Builder, a digital learning experience available in 16 languages with more than 500 no-cost on-demand courses. We are also working with educational institutions across the Asia-Pacific region – like the Department of Education of Western Australia, Dong-A University in South Korea, Indonesia’s Ministry of Education and Culture, Singapore’s Ministry of Education, and Malaysia’s Ministry of Higher Education, to transform course delivery, enhance the student experience, and improve learning outcomes.

Another training initiative, AWS re/Start, is a no-cost, full-time, 12-week course that uses real-world, scenario-based exercises, labs, and coursework to build skills and workforce opportunities for unemployed or underemployed people who are seeking a career in cloud computing. AWS re/Start is available in over 39 countries globally, including Australia, New Zealand, India, and Malaysia.

In South East Asia, AWS’s Education to Workforce (E2W) team runs a hackathon called Build On, an annual hackathon for students and cloud enthusiasts with coding skills in Southeast Asia that attracts thousands of registrants each year. At the hackathons, participants create technological initiatives and solutions to address challenges faced by the participating sponsors. Build On’s top winners have received internship offers from National University Health System (NUHS) and Versent. The annual nationwide hackathon is held in Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Pakistan.

Building a diverse and skilled global community for the digital future

As organizations continue to undergo digital transformation at an accelerating rate, investing in digital skills training has become an imperative for achieving business goals. Some countries have taken the first step, but we need more initiatives to bridge the digital skills gap.

To build a diverse and ready workforce, governments, training providers, and employers must work together to provide more accessible and targeted skills training. Our goal is to help people—from beginners to seasoned IT professionals—gain new cloud computing skills, and we are committed to collaborating with industry and governments to solve the digital skills shortage by encouraging a culture of lifelong learning.

Learn more about how to get started with no-cost AWS skills training.

Dive into the insights of the full report, “Building Digital Skills for the Changing Workforce.”

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