Digital skills in India Differ From Asia-Pacific – Here’s How
Special Feature

Digital skills in India Differ From Asia-Pacific – Here’s How

Digital transformation is happening at a rapid pace across the Asia Pacific (APAC) region and it is driving significant changes at the individual, organizational and macroeconomic levels. But there is a long way to go. A study shows nearly three-quarters of workers in 19 countries in the region—including Australia, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, and Thailand—do not use a computer in their jobs. This signals the imperative and opportunity to bridge the skills gap between the region’s workforce and its business needs.

Gallup collaborated with Amazon Web Services (AWS) to survey over 30,000 workers with access to the Internet and more than 9,000 employers in 19 countries of the region to assess their digital skills. Broadly, the study shows workers who obtain digital skills provide immense economic value to businesses and workers worldwide and in APAC. This increases gross domestic product (GDP), revenue, innovation, wages and job security. This also improves job satisfaction for businesses that integrate these technologies and for the workers who acquire the needed skill sets.

There is a duality here with both workers and organizations citing a strong interest in digital skills training, but companies around the region are struggling to fill vacant jobs that require these skills. Some key practical problems include a disconnect between how much employers say they value non-traditional education certifications, such as industry certifications, and their actions when evaluating candidates’ resumes.

Also read: Our Competency Model Provides Visibility on Current and Future Skillsets: Sujay Puthran, Atos Business

India vs the Rest

The big revelation from the survey is that nearly three-quarters (72%) of workers in the Asia-Pacific region do not use a computer at work. The proportion of non-digital workers varies across the region, from as few as one-quarter of workers in Australia (24%), Singapore (26%), and New Zealand (27%), to as many as 83% of workers in India.

Digital Skills in India
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Of the 28% of APAC workers who use some level of digital skills at work, half use basic digital skills. Six per cent of workers employ intermediate digital skills and the remaining 8% use advanced digital skills.

That said, India scores at par, and in some cases much better, in terms of the usage of advanced digital skills.

Meanwhile, advanced digital workers’ salaries are 65% higher than workers who do not use computers at work and organizations that employ these advanced digital workers report more than double the annual revenue of basic digital organizations, in addition to growing and innovating at faster rates.

While advanced digital workers do contribute the most to GDP on a per-capita basis, there are certainly economic benefits to increasing the digital base of a country’s workforce at any level, including training non-digital workers to use basic digital technology.

Also read: Salary Superseding Inflation, Hybrid Workforce: 5 Trends Changing Tech-Talent Landscape

This is because the advantages of digital workers’ income vary across APAC countries (compounded by differences in countries’ employment rates and prevalence of digital skills), and so does the distribution of GDP gains. More than half (57%) of the additional GDP generated by digital APAC workers is concentrated in Japan and South Korea. India comes in the third spot.

Digital Skills in India

Another notable aspect is that nearly half (46%) of digital workers who want additional digital skills training say an increased salary is what motivates them.

On average, digitally skilled APAC workers earn salaries that are 58% higher than those of their non-digital peers. This salary premium is as high as 65% for workers who use advanced digital skills, though workers who only use basic digital platforms, such as email and productivity software, still earn 39% more than workers who do not use any digital skills.

Over three-quarters (76%) of APAC employers are seeking to fill job openings that require digital skills. This widespread need for digital talent is creating a greater demand than the supply of workers available. More than seven in 10 (72%) employers say it is challenging to hire workers with the right digital skills, with one-quarter (25%) saying it is “a significant challenge.”

Digital Skills in India

While organizations could alleviate some hiring difficulties by allowing industry certifications to satisfy educational requirements, upskilling their current workforce may be the better solution. But, workers’ interest is not centred on a single skill or even a cluster of skills.

For each of the 26 skills, at least 43% of digital workers express interest, and the average APAC worker is interested in training for 13 of these skills. While the skills themselves receive comparable levels of interest, the overall intensity of interest varies far more by country. Of the 26 skills, Indian and Thai workers express the most interest in additional training.

Five Takeaways

  • Advanced digital workers earn 65% more than non-digital workers, adding nearly $1 trillion to Asia Pacific’s annual GDP.
  • Workers who use advanced digital skills feel more satisfied and secure in their jobs.
  • Employers that rely heavily on advanced digital skills, digital technology, and cloud technology report higher levels of revenue, growth, and innovation.
  • Seven in 10 employers in Asia Pacific countries face digital hiring challenges, in part due to strict bachelor’s degree requirements.
  • Two-thirds of organizations in the region say they are likely to adopt at least one emerging technology.


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