AWS report: 3.7 million Australians need to undertake digital skills training

Iain Rouse, Director and Country Leader for AWS Public Sector in ANZ

Amazon Web Services, Inc. (AWS), released findings from a new research showing that the need for digital skills training became more acute during the pandemic, with 81% of workers surveyed in Australia reporting they need more digital skills to cope with changes in their jobs.

The report found that over the next year, the number of Australian workers requiring digital skills for their jobs is projected to increase by 3.7 million, representing 29% of the workforce.

The findings indicate that only 30% of employers have a digital skills training plan in place, which could affect their competitiveness in areas of productivity, innovation, and retention.

The “Building Digital Skills for the Changing Workforce” report, prepared by strategy and economics consulting firm AlphaBeta, and commissioned by AWS, surveyed 1,023 digitally skilled workers in technology and non-technology roles, and 326 employers in Australia, with representation from public, private, and nonprofit sectors of different sizes and industries.

AWS reports high demand for cloud-based tools expertise

The report found that the ability to use cloud-based tools, like cloud developer tools, cloud-based communication software, accounting software, and client relationship management software, is projected to be the most in-demand skill by 2025, followed by cybersecurity.

It also highlights the need for more 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. The findings indicate that 62% of workers in Australia feel they will require training in cloud-related skills by 2025 to progress in their careers.

Among the surveyed that require training in cloud-related skills, 51% feel that they will need to learn how to make use of cloud-based tools, 27% will require training in migrating on-premises facilities to the cloud and 25% will require cloud architecture design skills.

Other advanced cloud 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.

AWS reports big benefits for upskilling employers

Employers who support skills training programs saw big benefits. 83% reported improved employee productivity, 85% were able to fast-track their digitisation goals, 81% achieved cost efficiencies, 84% reported higher employee retention, and 80% increased revenue.

Genevieve Lim, Director for APAC, AlphaBeta (part of Access Partnership), said, “While the need for digital skills has been growing for years, the research shows that job changes due to the pandemic accelerated the need for more training for workers on digital capabilities.”

“Organisations have accelerated their digitisation process to cope with the pandemic and ensure their long-term competitiveness. Transitioning into a digital-first economy will help countries’ recovery from COVID-19 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.”

AWS is focused on breaking down barriers to help solve this challenge, and is investing hundreds of millions of dollars globally as part of a global commitment to provide free cloud computing skills training to 29 million people by 2025. AWS offers over 500 free digital training courses, available to anyone with a desire to learn and an internet connection.

AWS works directly with customer and partner organisations to help upskill their employees. For example, AWS Skills Guild is a comprehensive skills enablement program that builds cloud skills across an organisation to help develop teams so they can innovate in the cloud.

AWS working with industry partners to upskill workers

In Australia, we run programs with firms like Telstra and Deloitte. To prepare the next generation of cloud experts for cloud careers, and to build a diverse pipeline of entry-level talent into the workforce, AWS collaborates with higher education institutions, nonprofits, workforce development firms, governments, and employers on digital upskilling programs.

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

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

“Over the course of the pandemic, we have seen organisations of all sizes accelerate their digital transformation plans by several years, driving an increased need for employers and their workers to advance skills training for cloud computing, cybersecurity, and machine learning,” said Iain Rouse, Director and Country Leader for AWS Public Sector in ANZ.

“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. AWS is committed to collaborating with industry and Australian government to address the digital skills shortage and stay ahead of the training curve.”

“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.”

“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,” said Prof. Rorden Wilkinson, Pro Vice-Chancellor, Education & Student Experience, UNSW Sydney.

“The use of cloud-based collaboration technologies has been critical to allow education to continue uninterrupted throughout the prevalent COVID 19 pandemic.”

“UNSW Sydney is working closely with partners like AWS to ensure our graduates are equipped with the digital skills they need to make an impact from day one and to assist experienced experts to continue to refresh and upgrade their skills throughout their careers.”

“The Tech Council of Australia welcomes the report released today by AWS,” said Kate Pounder, Chief Executive Officer of the Technology Council of Australia.

“Digital skills are vital to Australia’s future economic prosperity. We believe Australia is fast becoming a world-leader in the technology sector with the potential for the tech industry to deliver thousands of jobs and billions in economic activity over the coming decade.”

“The tech sector is one of the most diverse, flexible and well paid across the 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.”

Patrick Kidd, CEO Digital Skills Organisation, said, “It’s great to see this research highlight the urgent needs for digital skills training. At the Digital Skills Organisation, 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 firms across all industries must focus on a skills-based approach, and work together to help upskill people in digital skills more quickly.”

Download the research report: “Building Digital Skills for the Changing Workforce”. To learn more about Amazon’s global commitment to provide free public cloud computing skills   training to 29 million people by 2025, visit million.