Singapore’s economy will need another 1.2 million digitally skilled workers by 2025 and this would be a 55 per cent jump from the present 2.2 million, according to a survey.
The study, the findings of which were released on Thursday, was conducted by Amazon Web Services in Australia, India, Indonesia, Japan, Singapore and South Korea. It looked at how workers may be affected by future digital skills challenges.
Out of a sample size of more than 3,000 respondents across the six countries, 543 were surveyed in Singapore, the digital skills report said.
Right now, more than six in 10 (63 per cent) of Singapore workers already apply digital skills in their jobs, placing the country in second place among these six economies. Australia came in first, slightly ahead at 64 per cent, the survey showed.
About one in five workers here, 22 per cent, apply advanced digital skills, the highest among the six countries studied. South Korea is in second place in this area at 21 per cent, it said.
The study categorised basic digital skills as being able to communicate using digital mediums, to use basic digital software and data analysis tools, and to apply basic data privacy principles.
Advanced skills include data mining knowledge, using digital tools to streamline work processes and creating large-scale data models.
Although India has the smallest share of digitally skilled workers at 12 per cent of its workforce, it has the highest proportion of digitally skilled workers applying advanced digital skills at 71 per cent, the TODAY online newspaper reported, citing the survey.
Singapore is third place in this area, with 59 per cent of digitally skilled workers applying advanced digital skills.
The report estimated that the average worker in the region will need to gain seven new digital skills to keep pace with technological change.
The 1.2 million more digitally skilled workers that Singapore’s workforce reportedly needs would fall into these three groups — Workers who are not applying any digital skills in their jobs; Unemployed or other out-of-workforce individuals who will need to secure new jobs by 2025; Future workers, for example, people who are students now but will enter the workforce by 2025, the survey showed.
With the need to also train the current 2.2 million workers with added digital skills by then, the report estimated that the Singapore workforce needs a total of 23.8 million digital-skills training sessions from now until 2025.
This compares with 3.9 billion digital-skills training sessions required in India by 2025, given the large size of its workforce.
Amazon Web Services that conducted the survey said in a press release that 35 per cent of these skills training sessions in Singapore would be for non-digitally skilled workers and those who are not in the workforce.
Its report projected that between 2020 and 2025, the fastest-growing area of demand among digitally skilled workers for India, Japan and Singapore could be for advanced cloud skills.
Businesses are also likely to face acute talent shortages in 2025 in data, cloud, and cyber-security skills if workers do not ramp up their skills in these areas, it said.
As for present non-digital workers in Singapore and India, there could be a focus to train them in the ability to use digital software and hardware to analyse data.
In all, 51 per cent of the Singapore respondents indicated that it is highly likely that they would need to learn cloud computing skills in order to perform their jobs in 2025.