Scoop has an Ethical Paywall
Work smarter with a Pro licence Learn More

Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search


New Research Finds AI Skills Could Boost New Zealand Salaries By More Than 30% And Accelerate Career Growth

Hiring AI-skilled talent is a priority for more than 60% of Kiwi employers yet 70% struggle to find the AI talent they need, highlighting a looming AI skills gap in the country

Auckland, New Zealand—April 18, 2024—Amazon Web Services (AWS), an company, today released new research showing that when artificial intelligence (AI) is fully harnessed, employers across New Zealand are willing to pay these workers 30% more, with those in IT (41%), and research and development (38%) enjoying the highest pay bumps.

To better understand emerging AI usage trends and skilling needs in New Zealand workplaces, AWS commissioned Access Partnership to conduct a regional study, titled “Accelerating AI Skills: Preparing the Workforce in New Zealand for Jobs of the Future.” Over 1,600 workers and more than 500 employers were surveyed in New Zealand.

On top of significant salary bumps, 90% of New Zealand workers expect their AI skills to have a positive impact on their careers, including increased job efficiency, greater job satisfaction, and higher salaries. 79% of New Zealand workers indicated an interest in developing AI skills to accelerate their careers, and this interest transcends generations. 78% of Gen Z, 82% of Millennial, and 76% of Gen X workers want to acquire AI skills, while 70% of baby boomers—a demographic usually contemplating retirement—say they would enrol in an AI upskilling course if it was offered. At 70%, the interest from Kiwi baby boomers to learn about skills is higher than the average in Asia Pacific (68%) and Australia (55%).

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading

Are you getting our free newsletter?

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.

The research also found that the productivity payoff from an AI-skilled workforce could be immense for New Zealand. Surveyed employers expect their organisation’s productivity to increase by 49% as AI technology automates repetitive tasks (63%), improves workflow and outcomes (63%), and enhances communication (57%). Workers believe AI could raise their efficiency by as much as 46%.

New Zealand organisations to go all-in on AI

The appetite for AI transformation in New Zealand is high. More than 90% of employers envision their companies becoming AI-driven organisations by 2028. While most employers (86%) believe their IT department will be the biggest beneficiary, they also foresee sales and marketing (85%), finance (83%), research and development (83%), business operations (83%), legal (75%), and human resources (72%) departments driving significant value from AI too.

“The global AI wave has reached New Zealand, and is transforming the way businesses operate and the way we work. Our research shows that our community as a whole will benefit from an increased productivity boost, which will translate into higher salaries for skilled workers in New Zealand,” said Abhineet Kaul, Director at Access Partnership. “With a growing number of organisations expected to deepen their use of AI solutions and tools, and the continual evolution of AI-driven innovations, there is a need for employers and governments to nurture a proficient workforce capable of steering current and future AI advancements.”

Generative AI—a type of AI that can create new content and ideas quickly, including conversations, stories, images, videos, music, and more—has captured the attention of the general public in the past year, and this technology is already transforming workplaces in New Zealand. 92% of surveyed employers and 86% of workers expect to use generative AI tools on the job within the next five years, with 60% of employers highlighting ‘increasing innovation and creativity’ as the top benefit, followed by automating repetitive tasks (58%), and improving outcomes (58%).

“Generative AI offers an unprecedented opportunity to transform businesses in New Zealand, and this research shows that AI skills are imperative for the future workforce and the continued growth of Aotearoa. From financial services to construction, retail, and utilities, industries are embracing AI at pace, which is why an AI-skilled workforce is essential to supporting our Kiwi can-do culture of innovation, and driving productivity in New Zealand,” said Pip Gilbert, head of strategy, AWS, Australia and New Zealand. “At AWS, we are helping organisations to upskill their employees to be ready for a future powered by generative AI.”

Bridging New Zealand’s AI skills gap is mission-critical

The research reveals a looming AI skills gap which must be bridged to ensure New Zealand is well-positioned to unlock the full productivity benefits of AI. Hiring AI-skilled talent is a priority for 63% of New Zealand employers, yet 70% can’t find the AI talent they need. The research also uncovers a training awareness gap, with 79% of employers indicating that they don’t know how to run an AI workforce training program. Meanwhile, 75% of workers said they aren’t sure about relevant career paths where AI skills are useful.

The research highlights the need for greater collaboration between governments, industries, and educators to help employers in New Zealand implement AI training programs and guide workers in matching their AI skillsets to the right roles to harness their newly acquired AI capabilities.

“This research by AWS further reinforces the importance of AI for New Zealand’s future, and the need to invest in skilling our workforce to support the future needs of our country,” says Graeme Muller, Chief Executive of tech industry body, NZTech. “Huge productivity gains will be available, which will have a positive effect on our economy and GDP, but only if industry and Government work together to prepare Kiwis with AI skills.”

“At Kiwibank, we believe AI will enable our people to do parts of their job faster and more effectively,” said Tim Gardner, Kiwibank General Manager Tech Risk, Security, Data Governance and Architecture. “By leveraging data and AI we can extend traditional banking services and technology, making banking easier and simpler for our customers. That’s why we’re investing in upskilling our people in modern technologies, including AI and cloud. We recently held an AI hackathon focused on how AI can be used to create better outcomes for our teams and customers, and we’re proud to be the first organisation in Aotearoa to offer AWS CloudUp for Her for employees. Providing technology training and career development opportunities is one of the ways we’re able to retain the great talent we have and attract new people who might not have otherwise considered a career in tech. This helps grow diversity in our digital and technology team to better reflects the diversity of our customers.”

Accelerating digital skills training in New Zealand

AWS is committed to supporting Aotearoa’s digital and AI skills learning journey. In 2023, AWS announced plans to provide cloud training to 100,000 people in New Zealand over five years as part of a collaboration with the New Zealand government to drive innovation and accelerate digital transformation for Aotearoa.

In November 2023, Amazon launched the ‘AI Ready’ initiative that complements AWS’s commitment to provide free cloud computing skills training to 29 million individuals globally by 2025. ‘AI Ready,’ is a suite of free AI and generative AI training courses, aligned to both technical and non-technical roles, so that anyone can build AI skills. This is in addition to the more than 100 courses and learning resources on AI, machine learning, and generative AI available through AWS Skills Builder and AWS Educate—a digital learning centre for beginners to advanced learners. AWS also announced new generative AI innovations at AWS re:Invent 2023, including Amazon Q—a new generative AI assistant designed for work that can be tailored to businesses. AWS is also committed to upskilling under represented communities in New Zealand, including women, Māori and Pasifika communities through local programs such as AWS re/Start and AWS CloudUp for Hāpori Wāhine.

For more information about our “Accelerating AI Skills: Preparing the Asia Pacific Workforce for Jobs of the Future” research, download the report here.

© Scoop Media

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines


Join Our Free Newsletter

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.