Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Report exposes tech skills gap in Asia Pacific workforce

A new report commissioned by cloud services provider Amazon Web Services (AWS) has revealed that while Asia Pacific corporations are searching for digitally skilled workers, the region’s workforce direly needs to upskill to meet this demand.

The study produced earlier this year by polling company Gallup, in collaboration with AWS, found that Asia Pacific businesses employing cloud engineers and software developers report annual revenues 150-percent higher than those relying on workers with basic digital skills such as email, word processing, and social media posting.

With the potential for increased revenue on the line, employers are keenly interested in building workforces qualified to work with the cloud as well as emerging technologies, such as 5G and artificial intelligence (AI).

The majority of Asia Pacific employers surveyed, however, also admit to encountering problems in hiring individuals proficient in these technologies, with more than 72 percent of employers in the region agreeing that it is challenging to find people with the right digital skills.

Yet, workers want to learn. The report noted that 79% of Asia Pacific employees are eager to prepare themselves for the evolving job market, knowing they can benefit from higher wages, job satisfaction, and opportunities for promotion by doing so.

Of all industries, it is financial sector’s employers and workers that have been especially interested in learning these new skills.

The research showed that 85 percent of financial services workers in Asean are “extremely” or “very interested” in training in at least one digital skill.

“The financial services industry is undergoing rapid digital transformation across all Asean countries. With this evolution comes the urgent need for a digitally skilled workforce capable of optimizing the benefits of cloud technologies,” explained Emmanuel Pillai, head of AWS training and certification for Asean, during the press briefing held to discuss the study last July 20.

Yet, if both companies and employees across industries want to upskill, what’s stopping them? Pillai cited some of the obstacles preventing employees from improving their digital skills such as lack of time and access to training resources.

AWS, though, has been attempting to democratize access to training resources for years through their constantly updated training programs.

In fact, since 2017, AWS has taught more than 1 million people cloud skills across Asean and more than 100,000 people the same skillset in the Philippines.

One such program that became accessible to Filipinos last year is AWS re/Start. This program is offered for free to a limited number of individuals with little to no tech experience who are also looking for a fresh start as entry-level cloud practitioners.

Another one is the recently launched AWS Industry Quest, a gamified learning experience that teaches people how to build AWS cloud solutions specific to their particular industry.

On the other hand, an AWS offering targeted specifically towards organizations is the AWS Skills Guild. This consulting program is customized to each company and aims to help AWS’s partner organizations promote cloud adoption across their workforce.

One local company that has availed of this program is local lender UnionBank.

UnionBank chief human resources officer Michelle Rubio attended the briefing to highlight the necessity of Filipino workforces learning cloud skills.

Rubio detailed how UnionBank’s partnership with AWS via the Skills Guild helped the bank migrate its systems to the cloud, which then enabled them to hyperscale and hyperpersonalize their services.

“Speed is the name of the game nowadays” Rubio affirmed. “In the digital world today, product releases every two to four weeks is slow. So, we needed to be faster. You need cloud; you need to move from monolithic to microservices. Uou need to implement DevSecOps,” she said.

In sum, Rubio said: “We needed cloud technology to provide better services to our customers.”

The AWS Gallup survey was released in February 2023 and polled more than 30,000 workers and 9,000 employers across 19 countries, including Asia Pacific nations like Australia, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, and Thailand.


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