AWS: Digital skills in the workforce are now needed to cope with pandemic changes

The need for digital skills became more pronounced during the pandemic with 81% of workers surveyed in Australia reporting they need more skills to cope with changes in their jobs due to the pandemic, according to Amazon Web Services research report.

Australian workers requiring digital skills for their jobs is projected to increase by 3.7 million, currently representing 29% of Australia’s workforce, the Building Skills for the Changing Workforce found.

Despite this, the study noted, findings indicate that only 30% of employers in Australia have a digital skills training plan in place, which could affect their competitiveness in such areas as productivity, innovation, and employee retention.

Prepared by consulting firm Alphabeta and commissioned by AWS, the report surveyed 1,023 digitally skilled workers in both technology and non-technology roles and 326 employers in Australia representing from public, private, and non-profit sectors of different sizes and industries.

The most in-demand skill required by employers is the ability to use cloud-based tools such as developer tools, communication software, accounting software, and customer relationship management software.

It also highlights advanced cloud computing skills, and that the ability to migrate on-premises facilities to the cloud is anticipated to be among the top 10 in-demand digital skills by 2025 in Australia.

Sixty-two percent of workers in Australia feel they will require training in cloud-related skills by 2025 to progress in their careers. Among these workers who feel that they require training in cloud-related skills, 51% feel that they will need to learn how to make use of cloud-based tools in their work, 27% feel that they will require training in migrating on-premises facilities to the cloud and 25% will require cloud architecture design skills.

Skills such as machine learning, will be in high demand in businesses from healthcare to agriculture, fintech to media and entertainment, which the findings indicate will emerge as the 6th most demanded digital skill by employers by 2025.

Employers who support skills training programs see significant benefits, with 83% reporting improved employee productivity, 85% stating they were able to fast-track their digitisation goals, 81% achieving cost efficiencies, 84% reporting higher employee retention, and 80% seeing increased revenue.

“While the need for digital skills has been growing for years, this research shows that job changes due to the pandemic have accelerated the need for more training for both tech and non-tech workers on digital capabilities in Australia. Transitioning into a digital-first economy will help countries’ recovery from the pandemic and secure a stronger economic future. There is an urgent need for governments to work together with employers, training providers, and workers to meet these diverse and growing digital learning needs,” says AlphaBeta director for Asia Pacific Genevieve Lim.

AWS is providing free cloud computing skills, training up to an estimated 29 million people by 2025. It offers 500 free digital training courses.

AWS also works with customer and partner organisations to help them upskill their employees. AWS Skills Guild is a skills enablement program that builds cloud skills across an organisation to help develop teams so they can innovate in the cloud. In Australia, the program is run with organisations Telstra and Deloitte.

AWS collaborates with higher education institutions, non-profits, workforce development organisations, governments, and employers to prepare the next generation of cloud professionals.

In Australia, this includes programs like AWS re/Start, which is a free, full-time, 12-week program that prepares unemployed, underemployed, and transitioning individuals for careers in cloud computing.

It is offered in collaboration with FDM Group, Academy IT, and Goanna Education. AWS has already trained over two hundred thousand individuals in Australia with cloud skills since 2017.

“The Building Digital Skills for the Changing Workforce report shows an urgency for workers and employers to increase digital skills knowledge and maximise the benefits of technology to individuals and organisations. We are embracing a culture of lifelong learning and micro-skills as the new operating model for the future and current workforce through programs like AWS re/Start. Our goal is to help people—from beginners to seasoned IT professionals—gain new cloud computing skills,” says AWS director and country leader for AWS public sector in Australia and New Zealand Iain Rouse.

“Digital technologies are rapidly transforming every industry and occupation. Education is no exception. Building digital capability needs to be a core part of every curriculum,” stresses University of New South Wales professor pro vice-chancellor education and student experience Rorden Wilkinson.

“The use of cloud-based collaboration technologies has been critical to allow education to continue uninterrupted throughout the pandemic. UNSW Sydney is working closely with industry partners such as AWS to ensure our graduates are equipped with the digital skills they need to make an impact from day one – whether that is as an employee or an entrepreneur – and to assist experienced professionals to continue to refresh and upgrade their skills throughout their careers,” Wilkinson adds.

“The tech sector is one of the most diverse, flexible and well paid across the Australian jobs landscape. We want all workers to have the opportunity to reskill into a career in tech or upskill into new digitally focused roles. This report clearly highlights both the appetite from workers for digital skills, as well as the significant need from Australia’s employers for trained digital talent,” says Tech Council of Australia CEO Kate Pounder.

“We are focused on ways to make digital skill training more accessible and aligned to employer needs. We are doing this through simplifying digital training pathways, and the language used to make it easier for employees, employers and trainers to align efforts. These pathways drive skill standards for the digital skills employees need now and into the future. The AWS research is another reminder that organisations across all industries must focus on a skills-based approach, and work together to help upskill and train people in digital skills more quickly,” concludes Digital Skills Organisation CEO Patrick Kidd.


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