Businesses in the Asia-Pacific region see the need to train their staff in digital skills, but few actually do so


Most organizations in Asia-Pacific realize that their employees need digital skills training, but few have plans in place to do so. With cloud and cybersecurity among the most in-demand digital skills, employers run the risk of missing out on key business benefits if skills gaps remain closed.

Specifically, the ability to use cloud-based tools such as software-as-a-service (SaaS) accounting and CRM (customer relationship management) applications emerged as the most needed digital skills by 2025. , according to a study commissioned by Amazon. Web Services (AWS). This is followed by cybersecurity skills, including the ability to develop or deploy protocols as well as techniques to maintain the security of their organization’s digital systems and data.

Conducted last August by consultancy AlphaBeta, the online survey interviewed 2,166 employers and 7,193 workers in seven Asia-Pacific markets: Singapore, Australia, India, Indonesia, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea. South. Employers included business and IT managers from private and public sector organizations, while workers included full-time tech and non-tech employees who used digital skills in their jobs.

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The study further revealed that technical support, digital marketing skills, and the ability to manage site migration to the cloud were among the top five most in-demand digital skills. Others that were in demand by 2025 included artificial intelligence and machine learning, cloud architecture design, Internet of Things (IoT) skills, and software development.

The desire for digital skills has also been felt by employees, especially as the global pandemic has fueled digital transformation in many companies.

Some 88% of workers said they now need more digital skills to keep up with changes in their work, with 86% noting that COVID-19 has accelerated the pace of digital adoption in their organization.

In particular, 64% of employees said they needed cloud-related skills training by 2025, Emmanuel Pillai, AWS education and training manager for ASEAN, said in a video interview. with ZDNet.

Some 54% of workers said they needed to learn how to maintain safe and secure digital systems, while 33% needed to learn how to migrate from on-premises facilities to the cloud. An additional 27% believed they needed cloud architecture design skills to advance in their careers.

However, while 97% of companies recognized the need to train their employees in digital skills, only 29% had actually implemented a plan to do so, Pillai noted.

In fact, two-thirds of workers revealed they weren’t confident they were acquiring digital skills fast enough to meet the demands of their future careers. Lack of confidence was most apparent, at 83%, among workers aged 55 and over, while 75% of those aged 40-55 felt the same way, as did 60% of workers aged 40. and less.

Overall, 93% of organizations and employees encountered barriers to accessing the digital skills they needed to stay competitive, with time and awareness cited as the top challenges.

Some 72% indicated that limited knowledge of available training courses was a barrier, while 66% noted limited knowledge of necessary digital skills. Another 65% said high training costs were a challenge.

Among employees, 71% cite the lack of time to take training as a barrier, while 64% note the lack of quality training.

Companies should consider the long-term benefits of investing in skills

However, organizations in this region should look at the long-term benefits of digital skills training, rather than viewing it as an added cost, noted Genevieve Lim, Asia-Pacific director at AlphaBeta, part of the Access Partnership. .

She told ZDNet that among organizations that have invested in digital skills training, 88% have seen an increase in staff productivity. Another 83% reported greater employee retention, while 82% saw an increase in revenue.

While 80% of employees note that the ability to learn new digital skills leads to greater job satisfaction, Lim said these results could offer insights into how companies could retain talent amid the phenomenon. worldwide mass resignations.

If left unaddressed, cloud skills gaps also mean organizations would miss out on the benefits these technologies bring to the table, she said.

For example, they would take longer to innovate if they did not have the talent to help them develop and market new products. Also, they wouldn’t get the cost savings and productivity improvements that digital and cloud technologies were supposed to deliver, Lim said.

The study estimated that an additional 86 million employees across the seven Asia-Pacific markets are expected to undergo digital skills training over the next year to keep up with technological change. This figure represented 14% of the total workforce in these regional markets.

With Asia-Pacific enterprises at different stages of their cloud adoption journey, from migrating to operating in a cloud-native environment, Pillai said AWS is looking to support them at all phases with more than 250 managed cloud services.

He added that the cloud provider not only offers security-specific training and certifications, but also ensures that security is “integrated” into all of its training programs. Highlighting the shared responsibility to protect cloud systems and data, he highlighted the need for companies to understand how to secure and build secure applications.

This would further reduce the need to fill in the gaps later, he noted. He said an AWS customer was able to reduce their time to market by 15% to 25% because their engineers were trained to develop applications with a security-by-design mindset.

That means they didn’t have to spend as much time debugging and fixing bugs, which allowed their company to deploy apps faster, Pillai said.

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