New Delhi, India – Amazon Web Services, Inc (AWS), an Amazon.com company, recently released findings from a new research report indicating that the need for digital skills training became more acute during the pandemic, with 95 percent of workers in India reporting that they need more digital skills – the ability and knowledge to apply digital technologies for tasks in the workplace – to cope with changes in their jobs caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the report, the number of Indian workers who require digital skills for their jobs is expected to rise by 27.3 million over the next year, accounting for 7 percent of India’s workforce. Despite this, only 45 percent of Indian employers have a training plan in place, which may jeopardize their competitiveness in areas such as productivity, innovation, and employee retention.
The ‘Building Digital Skills for the Changing Workforce’ report, commissioned by AWS and prepared by strategy and economics consulting firm AlphaBeta, surveyed 1,012 digitally skilled workers in both technology and non-technology roles, as well as 303 employers in India, with representation from the public, private, and nonprofit sectors of various sizes and industries. The ability to use cloud-based tools, such as cloud developer tools, as well as online collaboration, accounting, and customer relationship management (CRM) software, was also identified as the most in-demand skill required by employers by 2025, followed by technical support skills and cybersecurity skills. It also emphasizes the need for more advanced cloud computing skills, such as machine learning and cloud architecture design, which have emerged as the fifth and sixth most in-demand digital skills by Indian employers by 2025. These skills are expected to be in high demand in a variety of industries, including healthcare, agriculture, fintech, and media & entertainment.
By 2025, 63 percent of Indian workers realize they will need cloud-related skills training to advance in their careers. Among those who claim they require training in cloud-related skills, 45 percent believe they need to learn how to use cloud-based tools in their work, 24 percent admit they will need training in migrating on-premises facilities to the cloud, and 32 percent believe they will need cloud architecture design skills. Employers who support skills training programs see significant benefits, with 92 percent reporting increased employee productivity, 92 percent claiming they were able to accelerate their digitization goals, 92 percent achieving cost efficiencies, 90 percent stating higher employee retention, and 91 percent reporting increased revenue.
Genevieve Lim, Director-APAC, AlphaBeta (part of Access Partnership), said, “While the need for digital skills has been growing for years, the research shows that job changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic have accelerated the need for more training for both tech and non-tech workers on digital capabilities in India. Organizations have accelerated their digitization process to cope with the pandemic and ensure their long-term competitiveness. Transitioning into a digital-first economy will help countries’ recovery from COVID-19 and secure a stronger economic future. There is an urgent need for governments to work together with employers, training providers, and workers to meet these diverse and growing digital learning needs.”
AWS is committed to breaking down barriers to assist in addressing this issue and is investing hundreds of millions of dollars globally as part of a global commitment to provide free cloud computing skills training to 29 million people. AWS provides over 500 free digital training courses to anyone with an interest in learning and an internet connection. AWS collaborates with higher education institutions, nonprofits, workforce development organizations, governments, and employers on a range of digital upskilling programs to prepare the next generation of cloud professionals for early cloud careers and to build a diverse pipeline of entry-level talent into the workforce.
In India, this includes programs such as AWS re/Start, a free 12-week full-time program that prepares unemployed, underemployed, and transitioning individuals for careers in cloud computing. Tech Mahindra Foundation, the CSR arm of Tech Mahindra Ltd, and Generation India, a non-profit organization, recently announced that they will support training unemployed and underemployed individuals in cloud computing through the AWS re/Start program, expanding the program’s reach to more cities in India. Since 2017, AWS has trained over one million people in India in cloud computing.
“Over the course of the pandemic, we have seen organizations of all sizes accelerate their digital transformation plans, driving an increased need for employers and their workers to advance skills training for cloud computing, cybersecurity, and machine learning,” stated Rahul Sharma, President, Public Sector, Amazon Internet Services Pvt Ltd (AISPL), AWS India and South Asia. “The Building Digital Skills for the Changing Workforce report shows an urgency for workers and employers to increase digital skills knowledge and maximize the benefits of technology to individuals and organizations. AWS is committed to collaborating with industry and government in India to address the digital skills shortage and stay ahead of the training curve. We are embracing a culture of lifelong learning and micro-skills as the new operating model for the future and current workforce through cloud curriculum integration in higher education, and programs like AWS re/Start. Our goal is to help people—from beginners to seasoned IT professionals—gain new cloud computing skills.”
The most common barrier to digital skilling is a lack of time to pursue training, which is cited by 77 percent of Indian workers. Workers can overcome this barrier by enrolling in modular, on-demand micro-skills courses, such as the NASSCOM FutureSkills initiative, which curates learning content from global providers to train and certify IT professionals in emerging technologies, while governments can collaborate with industry to develop short-term micro-skills training courses.
To this end, Debjani Ghosh, President, NASSCOM, added, “Natural evolution and a sense of urgency created by the pandemic have led to a rapid rise in the adoption of digital technologies across the board, leading to an accelerated increase in the demand for trained digital talent. Skilling at scale must be a national priority and become India’s competitive edge to enable the country grow as the global powerhouse for developing technological talent. To thrive in a digital future, new formats of skilling programs on emerging technologies must be built and delivered at a massive scale. NASSCOM FutureSkills Prime aims to enable the talent pool in India to develop competence in emerging technologies that will shape India’s techade across domains. Technologies such as cloud computing have seen rapid adoption, and courses such as the AWS Cloud Master Class on FutureSkills Prime provide a gateway for aspirational learners to build new skills and align to the fast-changing industry demands.”
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