Amazon Web Services, Inc. (AWS), an Amazon.com company, released findings from a new research report, titled “Unlocking APAC’s Digital Potential: Changing Digital Skill Needs and Policy Approaches”. The report, prepared by strategy and economics consulting firm AlphaBeta, and commissioned by AWS, analyzes the digital skills applied by workers in their jobs today, and projects the digital skills required by workforces over the next five years in six Asia Pacific countries – Singapore, Australia, India, Indonesia, Japan, and South Korea. The study found that Singapore will need 1.2 million additional digital workers by 2025 – a 55% increase from today’s levels; including today’s non-digital workers who will need to upskill, students who will enter the workforce by 2025, and currently unemployed or out-of-workforce individuals who need to learn basic digital skills to access job opportunities.
The research surveyed more than 500 digital workers in Singapore and interviewed technology experts, business leaders, and policymakers.The report reveals that 51% of Singapore’s digital workers, who are not applying cloud computing skills today, believe it will be a requirement to perform their jobs by 2025. Cloud architecture design will be the most in-demand skill over the next five years. One of the key drivers of cloud skills is related to the government’s plan to spend SS$3.5 billion on information and communications technology in the fiscal year 2020. The government investment will facilitate the development of Infocomm Technology (ICT) systems running on cloud services, which will require cloud computing skills to help deliver digital services for citizens and businesses.
Other top skills slated to be in demand by 2025, are cybersecurity, software operations support, web/software/game development, and large-scale data modeling. The research highlights that as enterprises increasingly use big data analytics to optimize operational processes such as streamlining supply chains, and determining the condition and maintenance of equipment, the manufacturing sector is projected to require more large-scale data modeling talent.
The research also confirms that digitally skilled workers currently represent 63% of Singapore’s workforce. It estimates that the average Singaporean worker will need to develop seven new digital skills by 2025 to keep pace with technology advancements and demand, while the number of workers requiring digital skills could increase by 55%. This means that Singapore’s workforce needs a total of 23.8 million digital skill trainings from 2020 to 2025. This will help Singapore to achieve a broader and more inclusive growth – as 35% of these skill trainings are recommended for workers who do not possess digital skills, and individuals who are not in the workforce. Focused efforts in upskilling will enable workers to improve productivity with digital tools, while helping to increase employment opportunities for unemployed individuals.
“Human capital investment is critical to boost long-term, inclusive economic growth for Singapore where natural resources are scarce. To meet the needs of the future workplace, equipping people with the most relevant skills is a national priority to thrive in today’s fast-changing environment,” said Tan Lee Chew, Managing Director for ASEAN, Worldwide Public Sector, Amazon Web Services. “AWS is committed to helping Singaporeans, even those with little to no previous technology knowledge or experience, advance their skills through a wide variety of free technology training opportunities which can ultimately help them expand or create new career paths. We also hope these efforts will help Singapore meet its skills requirements by 2025.”
AWS provides a range of free training opportunities, including more than 500 free courses, interactive labs, and virtual day-long training sessions that are accessible through AWS Training and Certification. For higher education students, AWS has collaborated with six Singapore institutes of higher learning which have integrated AWS-designed education content into the curriculum for their mainstream technology courses and diploma programs. AWS also offers students free, self-paced, online learning content for cloud career pathways related to in-demand jobs such as cloud engineer, cybersecurity specialist, machine learning scientist, and data scientist.
To download the research report of “Unlocking APAC’s Digital Potential: Changing Digital Skill Needs and Policy Approaches”, please access here.
 Digital workers are defined as individuals who have the ability to apply digital technologies on work-related tasks.
2 “AlphaBeta Digital Skills Worker Survey 2020” was conducted by AlphaBeta with more than 500 respondents in Singapore, as part of a sample size of more than 3,000 across six countries in Asia Pacific. The sample size of respondents is statistically significant based on the size of Singapore’s total workforce, at a 95 percent confidence level – the level typically adopted by researchers.
3 Government Technology Agency, 30% increase in FY2020 ICT spend to accelerate digitalization and support businesses, https://www.tech.gov.sg/media/media-releases/thirty-percent-increase-fy2020-ict-spend-to-accelerate-digitalisation-and-support-businesses, 8 June 2020.
4 Department of Statistics Singapore, Singapore’s manufacturing sector includes different types of manufacturing such as food and beverages, textile and apparel, pharmaceutical products, chemical products, computers, and electronic products. The key subsectors of Singapore’s manufacturing sector are electronics, pharmaceutical and biological products, chemicals, and machinery and equipment, https://www.tablebuilder.singstat.gov.sg/publicfacing/createDataTable.action?refId=12415, 22 October 2020.
5 Survey respondents of “AlphaBeta Digital Skills Worker Survey 2020” came from industries such as technology, manufacturing, education, retail and wholesale trade, professional services, and financial services.
6 One digital skill training refers to one specific digital skill trained for one worker. The number of digital skill trainings required between 2020 and 2025 was estimated by: (1) projecting the number of workers who require to be trained in a specific digital skill in order to either perform their current job or access a desired job opportunity by 2025, and (2) summing this worker number across all 28 specific digital skills listed in the “APAC Digital Skills Framework” (as attached in the Appendix). In this framework, each digital skill was matched to eight competence areas (referring to broad areas of digital know-how) and four key proficiency levels (referring to differing skill ability levels).
7 The six institutes of higher learning that are integrating content from AWS programs are Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP), Ngee Ann Polytechnic (NP), Republic Polytechnic (RP), Singapore Polytechnic (SP), Temasek Polytechnic (TP), and the London School of Business and Finance (LSBF).