Last week, Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Washington-based analytics firm, Gallup released the 2022 AWS Global Digital Skills Study to highlight the economic benefits of a tech-savvy workforce as well as the growing adoption of new technology and the cloud by businesses.

Over 30,000 working adults with access to the internet and more than 13,000 hiring managers in Canada and 18 other major countries were surveyed. Gallup also analyzed data from the Burning Glass Institute on all advertised job vacancies in 33 countries, including Canada, from June 2021 to May 2022.

AWS says that this is the largest international survey conducted on digital skills.

The study showed that advanced digital skills are adding significant value to the economy, boosting Canada’s GDP (Gross Domestic Product) by US$257 billion and the global GDP by US$6.3 trillion, annually.

Income and productivity of digital workers have a lot to do with that. The study found that the average Canadian worker with advanced digital skills (e.g. cloud architecture, software development, or artificial intelligence) earns US$81,156, or 136 per cent more, annually, than similar workers who do not possess digital skills. And workers with advanced digital skills saw more pay increases than those with basic and intermediate digital skills.

Furthermore, nearly half of Canadian workers surveyed say digital skills training made them more efficient. Sixty-one per cent of workers with advanced digital skills report high job satisfaction, compared to an average of 46.5 per cent for workers with basic and intermediate digital skills.

Companies benefit from a digitally-skilled workforce, as almost half of Canadian workers with advanced digital skills say that their organizations have experienced steady growth, ranging between 10 to 99 per cent.

Screencap from AWS Global Digital Skills Study 2022

Companies that realize higher rates of revenue growth also tend to innovate more; 60 per cent of digitally skilled organizations in Canada introduced new innovative products in the past two years, compared to less than half (44 per cent) of their less digital counterparts, the study found.

Businesses adopting cloud computing rate more than twice as high in innovation as companies that do not use the cloud. While 81 per cent of Canadian employers currently operate on the cloud, 12 per cent said they will adopt the cloud in the future, the study showed.

Hiring digital talent is also a priority to the companies surveyed, as over 81 per cent of Canadian companies think that digital skills will be critical to their businesses. However, 67 per cent of Canadian businesses say that they find it challenging to hire digital workers, with 45 per cent attributing this to a shortage of qualified applicants.

The value of digital skills is recognized among the survey’s respondents, as 43 per cent of Canadian workers say they would like to work for a technology company, but a significant 81 per cent of these workers do not feel they have sufficient digital skills to be hired by such a company.

The study indicated that most workers (72 per cent) are highly interested in developing their digital skills. Additionally, 32 per cent of Canadian workers regard skill-specific training as a way to advance their career, compared to 10 per cent who believe a degree would advance their career.

Nonetheless, nearly all Canadian workers (91 per cent) cited at least one barrier to acquiring digital training. Forty-six per cent cited a lack of time as a hindrance, followed by a lack of financial resources (35 per cent), knowledge of the digital skills needed to advance their careers (25 per cent), and the digital skill training available (25 per cent).

Digital skills continue to grow, and emerging technologies will become a standard part of businesses in the future, the study concluded. More than half of Canadian employers rated at least one technology, an eight or higher (on a scale of zero to ten), to likely become a standard part of their business in the future.

Screencap from AWS Global Digital Skills Study 2022


Access the full report here.

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