Australia needs 6.5 million extra digital workers by 2025, according to research by Amazon which forecasts the average current will need to develop seven new digital skills in that time to keep pace with technology changes.

Without adding millions of newly skilled and reskilled digital workers Australia will miss out on billions in post pandemic economic growth, according to the report which analysed countries’ digital capabilities across APAC.

Amazon’s cloud arm, Amazon Web Services, commissioned consulting firm AlphaBeta to conduct the research which includes Australian data based on a survey of more than 500 local digital workers and interviews technology experts, business leaders, and policymakers.

According to the forecasts, large-scale data modelling, software operations support, web/game/software development, cloud architecture design, and cybersecurity skills will be the top five in-demand digital skills in Australia by 2025.

But without more training there will be a potential shortage of millions of adequately skilled people to do the work, according to the report which says the number of newly skilled and reskilled workers needs to grow by 79 per cent by 2025.

“Our research shows that business-as-usual approaches to digital skill development won’t get us there,” said Dr. Fraser Thompson, Managing Director of AlphaBeta,

“A digital worker in Australia today has about 6.5 digital skills on average, but all workers – digital or not – will need to gain an additional seven skills to keep pace with technological change by 2025. We also need to go beyond just upgrading existing digital workers – the majority of new skill requirements will be with new job seekers, those involuntarily excluded from the workforce, and workers who do not use digital skills in their jobs today. 

“The challenge is huge, but the payoff would be tremendous in terms of stronger economic growth, higher incomes, and a more equitable and resilient economy.”

AlphaBeta has forecasted Australia’s technology sector can grow its contribution to GDP to bout AU$207 billion per year by 2030 with “the right policy settings and digital skills training” in place.

Reskilling Australia

RMIT analysis released last week found a similar looming shortage of dedicated technology workers while Australian technology companies are calling for a new IT internship program to rectify the currently underskilled graduates.

Amazon’s solutions include collaborating with tertiary educators to design technology courses that better arm students with entry level requirements. The public cloud market leader also offers cloud skills “guilds” for customers, including several in Australian enterprises.

“Advances in cloud computing, machine learning, and other emerging technologies have created an exponential pace of change, which has been accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, in many industries across Australia,” said Iain Rouse, director and country leader, Australia and New Zealand, Worldwide Public Sector, Amazon Web Services. 

“However, a significant barrier is finding the skilled workers that can make these plans a reality. AWS is committed to providing skills training to help Australians advance their careers and open up a variety of career paths, even for individuals with little-to-no previous tech knowledge. Now more than ever, Australians have an opportunity to embrace learning new digital skills to improve their employability, drive innovation, and contribute to our economic productivity.”  

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