AWS Training and Certification Blog

Study by Gallup and AWS shows digital skills drive economic growth across APAC

AWS re/Start Associate now offered in Australia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Korea, and Singapore to help workers acquire advanced digital skills

2023 was ushered in by economic headwinds that are impacting many countries across the Asia Pacific (APAC) region. Governments and business leaders are having to rethink their business models and accelerate their digital transformation using cloud technology. Thriving in a competitive and resource-constrained environment requires a workforce capable of using advanced digital technologies that play a vital role in providing businesses with the resilience and agility to pivot quickly to improve their operations.

As information technology continues to transform our lives and work at an individual, organizational, and macroeconomic level, Gallup – in collaboration with Amazon Web Services (AWS) – has conducted the largest global survey of its type to shed light on the tremendous economic, innovation, and career benefits of investing in advanced digital skills.

Today, I am excited to reveal the Asia Pacific findings from the study titled, The Economic Benefits of a Tech-Savvy Workforce.” More than 30,000 workers and 9,000 employers were surveyed in 19 countries, including Australia, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, and Thailand.

Advanced digital skills add US$934 billion to APAC’s annual GDP

The research shows that higher incomes are not only transforming the lives of workers with advanced digital skills, but yielding big economic benefits for national and regional economies too. Only 8% of APAC workers use advanced digital skills on the job yet they add an estimated US$934 billion to the region’s annual gross domestic product (GDP). When you combine all workers that use any level of digital skills, the net economic benefit to the region is almost US$4.7 trillion a year. More than half (57%) of the additional GDP generated each year by digitally skilled APAC workers comes from Japan and South Korea.

The average APAC worker with advanced digital skills earns 65% more than workers with a similar education who do not use digital skills at work, and 57% of workers who use intermediate and 39% who use basic digital skills also earn more than their non-digital counterparts. The income gap between digital (advanced, intermediate, and basic) and non-digital workers is particularly high in Singapore and Indonesia, 97% and 93% respectively.

Investing in digital skills yields big benefits for workers and organizations

Beyond enjoying higher salaries, the research shows that more than three-quarters (79%) of APAC workers who use advanced digital skills express higher job satisfaction, compared to 46% that use basic digital skills. This is most profound in Indonesia where advanced digital workers have twice the satisfaction in their jobs than their basic digital counterpart (88% vs 44%).

The research also shows organizations that rely on advanced digital skills and cloud technologies significantly outperform their non-digital peers. APAC businesses that employ cloud engineers and software developers report annual revenues 150% higher than those that rely on workers with basic digital skills. Additionally, 80% of APAC companies that run some or most of their business in the cloud introduced new, innovative products in the last two years, more than twice as high as companies that do not leverage the cloud (36%). According to the International Data Corporation, the public cloud services market in the Asia Pacific region (excluding Japan) will reach US $165.2 billion in 2026.

Hear from Jonathan Rothwell, Principal Analyst at Gallup Research, about the AWS Gallup APAC Digital Skills Study.

Overcoming APAC’s hiring challenges

Every day we speak to our customers and partners in the private and public sectors who see immense value in investing in training their workers. They include some of the region’s top organizations like National Australia Bank (NAB), eHealth NSW, Kominfo, Money Forward, Paytm, Perfios, Toppan, and Zalora. The feedback we hear shows there is a critical need to upskill and reskill workers so they can meet the demands of the evolving job market, with 79% of APAC workers eager to upskill themselves to reap positive benefits like higher wages, job satisfaction, and opportunities for promotion. Employers experience increased productivity, reduced turnover, and a more innovative team all around.

However, hiring digital workers will continue to be an uphill battle. More than seven in ten (72%) APAC employers say it is challenging to find people with the right digital skills they need. In Thailand, the figure is nine out of ten (94%), followed by eight out of ten in India (88%), Indonesia (86%), and Malaysia (85%).

A factor compounding the problem is that 38% of APAC employers hold strict bachelor’s degree requirements for IT staff, even for entry-level roles. Greater recognition of technology certifications can ease hiring challenges. In fact, 76% of employers in the region say that a digital certification or training courses are acceptable substitutes for a degree showing that certifications are becoming recognized as valuable alternatives.

New program to help IT professionals pivot to cloud

At AWS, we believe the future of tech is inclusive, diverse, and accessible across every colour, gender, belief, origin, and community.  We support learners with basic, intermediate, and advanced cloud skills through our tailored training programs, meeting our customers where they are at in their cloud journey, and helping them accelerate and achieve their goals.

To help workers in APAC get advanced cloud skills and further their careers, we are excited to announce the expansion of AWS re/Start Associate in Australia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand, and Singapore. AWS re/Start is our free, cohort-based training program that prepares people with little to no tech experience for entry-level cloud roles. The new Associate track will help unemployed and underemployed IT professionals gain the skills they need to pivot to mid-level cloud careers. We have also launched AWS re/Start and the Associate track in South Korea, joining the cohorts in over 180 cities across more than 60 countries.

With game-based learning on the rise, we now offer AWS Cloud Quest and AWS Industry Quest to help learners build practical cloud skills in an engaging and interactive environment. AWS Cloud Quest teaches individuals important roles including cloud practitioner, serverless developer, solutions architect, machine learning specialist, security specialist, and data analyst. AWS Industry Quest was launched at AWS re:Invent in late 2022 for the financial services industry (FSI) and will be available for more industries soon. Through the game, FSI professionals and teams learn how to build solutions for fraud prevention, data lakes, grid computing for capital markets, and serverless deposit accounts.

APAC organizations prepare for future technologies

With many organizations now preparing for the hiring challenges of the future, the Gallup and AWS  study looked at 10 emerging technologies including 5G, artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, edge and quantum computing, blockchain, cryptocurrency, and the metaverse. Sixty-seven percent of APAC employers say at least one of these technologies is likely to become a standard part of their future business operations, with 5G ranking the highest at 49% and AI close behind at 43%.

Building a future-ready workforce is key to overcoming hiring challenges and being able to rapidly adapt to future technologies. AWS is committed to working with our customers and collaborating with higher education institutions, non-profits, workforce development organizations, governments, and industry to get workers skilled at scale. We have trained more than 6 million people across the region over the past five years, adding one million in the last six months alone. With only 8% of workers in APAC having advanced digital skills, more work needs to be done.

Despite the current economic headwinds and inflationary pressure, the Asian Development Bank predicts that APAC will continue to have robust economic growth, albeit at a slightly slower pace than previously estimated. To maintain this unique position in the world as a growth engine, we need governments and industries to work together to create an agile and resilient workforce that can handle the rapidly evolving technological advancements. A specific focus on advanced digital skills will enable countries to accelerate their growth momentum and ensure their economies are more resilient, innovative, and inclusive than ever before.

Learn more about the AWS-Gallup report or to get started on your digital skilling journey, visit AWS Training and Certification.