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New Research Reveals That Workers With Advanced Digital Skills Boost New Zealand’s Annual GDP By NZ$7.3 Billion

New Zealand organisations that employ workers with advanced digital skills report revenues that are 67% higher, but 64% of organisations are facing hiring issues

AWS announces AWS re/Start Associate program to support individuals entering mid-level cloud roles

Amazon Web Services (AWS), an Amazon.com company, today released new research that shows workers in Aotearoa, New Zealand who use advanced digital skills – including cloud architecture or software development – contribute an estimated NZ$7.3 billion to New Zealand’s annual gross domestic product (GDP). This is attributed to the 19% higher salaries that these workers earn compared to those with a similar education who do not use digital skills at work.

The “New Zealand Digital Skills Study: The Economic Benefits of a Tech-Savvy Workforce,” commissioned by AWS and conducted by Gallup, examined how building a technology-enabled workforce has significant benefits for workers, organisations, and the economy. More than 1,400 (1,448) working adults and 374 employers were surveyed in New Zealand across a variety of public and private sector organisations and industries. The study classifies basic digital skills as the ability to use email, word processors, other office productivity software, and social media. Intermediate digital skills include drag-and-drop website design, troubleshooting applications, and data analysis. Advanced digital skills include cloud architecture or maintenance, software or application development, artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning.

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The study found that advanced digital workers in Aotearoa are benefitting from more than just a boost in their income. 72% of workers who use advanced digital skills express higher job satisfaction, compared to 55% of workers with basic skills and 52% of workers with intermediate digital skills.

Similarly, employers that rely heavily on advanced digitally-skilled workers, digital technology, and cloud technology reap higher business growth and innovation. The study found that 27% of New Zealand organisations that run most of their business on the cloud report a doubling of annual revenue, compared to 9% of those that use the cloud for some or none of its business. Cloud-based organisations are also about 23 percentage points more likely to have introduced a new or improved product within the last two years (62% to 39%).

With many organisations now preparing for the challenges of a digital future, the study looked at 10 emerging technologies including artificial intelligence (AI), edge and quantum computing, blockchain, and cryptocurrency. 51% of employers in New Zealand say at least one of these technologies is likely to become a standard part of their future business operations, with 5G ranking the highest at 33%.

“New Zealanders are increasingly going digital, from the way they work to the way they live. This research shows that digital skills provide immense economic value to New Zealand at the individual, organisational, and macroeconomic levels,” said Gallup Principal Economist, Dr. Jonathan Rothwell. “As more organisations move their IT to the cloud over the next decade and new technologies emerge, digitisation is going to fuel a vast number of new jobs. The opportunity for New Zealand to be competitive in the digital economy depends on having a robust and highly skilled workforce to support current and future innovations.” 

With the digital transformation of businesses and government agencies accelerating around the world, demand for advanced digital workers will remain strong in the coming years. 77% of New Zealand employers surveyed reported that digital skills will be important for their business over the next five years, but 64% said it is challenging to find the talent they need. Many are starting to recognise that accepting industry certifications can ease their hiring challenges. 71% of employers say that digital certifications or training courses are acceptable substitutes for a bachelor’s degree.

“As the Gallup research shows, Aotearoa, New Zealand has the opportunity to seize immense economic benefits from building a strong pipeline of cloud talent to support the country’s ongoing digital transformation. AWS is working with organisations across all industries, including our customers and partners, training providers, universities, and industry groups to help bridge the digital skills gap. We have trained more than 6 million people with basic, intermediate, and advanced cloud skills across Asia Pacific since 2017, and our work doesn’t stop here,” said Tiffany Bloomquist, Country Manager, Commercial Sector, AWS New Zealand.

“Digital skills drive tremendous gains for individuals, organisations, and economies, which is why AWS is deeply committed to expanding our digital skills training programs for workers and employers across New Zealand. We are excited to continue to collaborate with local public and private sector employers to help them upskill and reskill their employees and take full advantage of the cloud to accelerate their business growth, productivity, and innovation,” said Bloomquist.

To help workers in New Zealand acquire advanced skills to further their careers, AWS is today announcing AWS re/Start Associate, a new track under the AWS re/Start program to help unemployed and underemployed IT professionals modernise their skills and pivot to mid-level cloud careers. In New Zealand, AWS is collaborating with Te Pūkenga – New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology, the largest vocational education provider in New Zealand, to deliver the program locally. Globally AWS re/Start is a free multi-week, cohort-based workforce-development program that connects more than 98% of graduates with job interview opportunities.

“We know there are many New Zealanders out there with valuable information technology experience who are well positioned to upskill and pivot to cloud computing roles. The launch of AWS re/Start Associate is going to open up opportunities for people with an IT background to level up and gain vital cloud skills. New Zealand is preparing for an increasingly digitised future and we are honoured to be delivering this program in New Zealand for AWS at a time when Kiwi workers and employers are eager to advance their digital skills,” said Dr Megan Gibbons, Deputy Chief Executive, Te Pukenga.

“AWS re/Start changed my life by giving me the knowledge and confidence to launch a career in cloud computing. Through the program, I met individuals like myself looking to secure a well-paid job in an industry that will give us more job security in the long-term. I’m now working for KiwiRail as an IT Specialist and using my digital skills to help the company innovate and grow my career,” said Xinpeng Yang, IT Specialist at KiwiRail.

“The Gallup and AWS report highlights how important digital skills are for New Zealand and reinforces the trends that we’ve seen across the tech ecosystem,” said Graeme Muller, Chief Executive, NZTech. “It highlights the value of digital skills and upskilling, not only for Kiwi technology companies but for our increasingly digital economy as a whole. The data also challenges us with some important questions – are we, Aotearoa New Zealand, collectively investing enough in digital skills? Are we creating the right incentives and opportunities for digital upskilling? And how can we better realise the productivity and other benefits of new cloud and emerging technologies?”

Since announcing the global commitment to invest hundreds of millions of dollars to provide free cloud computing skills training to 29 million people around the world by 2025, AWS has trained more than 13 million people in digital skills. For more information about our free cloud skills training commitment, visit AboutAmazon.com/29million.

Download the “New Zealand Digital Skills Study: The Economic Benefits of a Tech-Savvy Workforce”.


Quote sheet:

Bridget Snelling, Country Manager, Xero, New Zealand, said: “New Zealand has a great opportunity to improve productivity through digitalisation. Recent economic insights Xero released with NZIER show the country’s labour productivity is below the OECD average and is operating at less than half of the most productive nation, Ireland. Right now, businesses across Aotearoa are spending a huge amount of time on tasks that can be automated or done more efficiently with the help of an app. Ensuring we have a workforce with advanced digital skills through a commitment to education and upskilling will mean that every hour spent working is doing something only a human can do. This will unlock huge productivity benefits for SMEs, and the wider New Zealand economy.”

Heather Polglase, Spark’s People and Culture Director, said: “The accelerated pace of digital transformation has led to demand for highly skilled technology talent far exceeding availability, but equally also creating opportunities for New Zealand’s future talent. We know that the tech sector is set for exponential growth over the next few years and want to play our part in developing credible pathways for Kiwis into careers in tech. We want to ensure that Aotearoa’s talent is equipped to contribute to this fast-growing sector, so we recently launched Spark Gigs – a talent marketplace platform that offers everyone at Spark opportunities to learn new skills through different work experiences. We also know the huge difference that meaningful partnerships with diverse organisations can make in encouraging more women, Māori, and Pasifika into the industry and are proud to support the AWS re/Start program, which is helping to create a digital future that more Kiwis can be a part of.”

Justin Gray, Datacom Managing Director New Zealand said: “Equipping people with the digital skills needed now, and in the future, has to be a priority for every industry, but the tech sector has an important role to play. Datacom has made a commitment to be a net creator of tech talent, not just to grow our own team but to ensure we are growing a skilled workforce that can support New Zealand’s growth ambitions. We are also focused on growing a diverse workforce and supporting new, less traditional pathways into tech, including the AWS re/Start program, to encourage more people to consider career opportunities in technology.”

About Amazon Web Services

For over 15 years, Amazon Web Services has been the world’s most comprehensive and broadly adopted cloud offering. AWS has been continually expanding its services to support virtually any cloud workload, and it now has more than 200 fully featured services for compute, storage, databases, networking, analytics, machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), mobile, security, hybrid, virtual and augmented reality (VR and AR), media, and application development, deployment, and management from 96 Availability Zones within 30 geographic regions, with announced plans for 15 more Availability Zones and five more AWS Regions in Australia, Canada, Israel, New Zealand, and Thailand. Millions of customers—including the fastest-growing startups, largest enterprises, and leading government agencies—trust AWS to power their infrastructure, become more agile, and lower costs. To learn more about AWS, visit aws.amazon.com.

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