Digital skills gap at all-time high

September 02, 2022

Seventy five per cent of IT decision-makers report a gap in digital skills, 145% over the previous year.

Seventy five per cent of IT decision-makers report a gap in digital skills, 145% over the previous year, say a panel of major employers at this year’s Amazon Web Services (AWS) summit in Canberra today.

To reskill at scale is a massive challenge facing businesses. The federal government says 87 per cent of today’s jobs across every sector and industry in Australia now require digital literacy.

The AWS released research today showing that, despite representing just 29% of the tech workforce, according to the Australian Computer Society, women are more motivated to gain digital skills: 8 in 10 women say they have realised the importance of digital skills training due to the pandemic. 

The research also found:

  • While there is a gap between female (67%) and male workers (74%) in Australia who have undergone digital skills training since the pandemic, female workers are more motivated to do so.
  • More than half (55%) of female workers who have not undergone any training indicate that they want to do so within the next year; 14 percentage points higher than the share of men looking to start.
  • 88% of Australian workers surveyed in non-tech roles who have upgraded their digital skills are benefitting from greater efficiency: 60% reported increased promotion opportunities, and 81% reported improved employability.
  • 81% of non-tech workers and 66% of tech workers are not confident of their ability to meet future digital skill needs.

Government services look to upskill at scale

Helen Robson, Program Manager Major Projects, Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) says within the ABS it’s important to train business people in tech as well as upskilling internal tech staff to use digital processes at work.

“This is our platform for innovation and new delivery, so if people want to work in there they have to learn and understand the environment – and that includes our business people.

“Its not just about our architects and development staff – our business people need to write code, and to understand Python and R as well.”

Robson says it’s important for people to understand the value of digital skills to incentive staff to develop digital skills at scale.

“People can see the difference they are making for the country where they are helping to share data securely across government, like in the census. They want to be involved, they want to do cool stuff, they want to move forward with their careers.”

Lifelong learning is essental to digital skills

Jo Cantle, Strategy and Digital Workforce Policy Lead, Australian Public Service Commission says the 2019 review of the APS meant professional streams were set up to train people in essential skills like digital data.

“To support digital enabled and data driven services, our key focus is to look at the whole life cycle of employees in the APS. We’ve established a range of actitivies including ensuring we have the leadership we need for transformation, supporting for women into leadership roles, and our cloud education program, which we partner with AWS and QUT on, to ensure our leaders have the digital skills they need to transform government.

“COVID has given us the platform to rapidly move forward. It has forced that advancement we wouldn’t have necessarily had before in driving the need for digital skills.

“We’re developing digital literacty training across the whole of the APS workforce, it’s a requirement for all APS employees, regardless of their role.”

Digital literacy driving innovation

Farhoud Salimi, Executive Director, Service Delivery eHealth NSW, says the organisation has delivered digital training to over 2600 staff through their digital academy. “Probably about half of that training is the cloud. We surveyed staff and 78% say they managed to apply that learning to a piece of work they were doing at the time – and it improved the speed and efficiency also.”

“Digital literacy is critical. For us, our role in IT is to produce the tools we can give to the faculties to expose staff and students to AI and machine learning, skills that will be critical to future leaders so they come out with a high digital literacy.”

“For us it’s about the speed of innovation,” says Jason Cowie, CIO of Curtin University. “As the team ramp up their skills we hope to see that innovation increase and to quantify the impact across the university.

To help address the digital skills gapin Australia, AWS has launched AWS Skill Builder Individual and Team subscriptions in Australia and New Zealand. It builds upon AWS’s existing Skill Builder digital learning experience with 500+ free, self-paced, digital courses, complementing the ongoing upskilling efforts in Australia.

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One thought on “Digital skills gap at all-time high”

  1. Computer training should be offered free to all age groups in today’s world because you need to be computer literate in most day to day activities

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