Advanced digital skills beef up Singapore GDP by S$62.4 billion 

Workers in Singapore who use advanced digital skills – including cloud architecture or software development – contribute an estimated US$61.8 billion (SGD $62.4 billion) to Singapore’s GDP, according to new research from Amazon Web Services (AWS).

This is attributed to the 123% higher salaries that these workers earn compared to those with a similar education who do not use digital skills at work. 

The “Asia Pacific Digital Skills Study: The Economic Benefits of a Tech-Savvy Workforce,” commissioned by AWS and conducted by Gallup, covered 1,258 working adults and 351 employers in Singapore across a variety of public and private sector organizations 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. 

The study found that advanced digital workers in Singapore are benefitting from more than just a boost in their income. 54% of workers who use advanced digital skills express higher job satisfaction, compared to 40% of workers with intermediate skills and 39% of workers with basic 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 67% of Singaporean organisations that run most of their business on the cloud are more likely to experience steady revenue growth, compared to 46% of those that use the cloud for some or none of their business. 

Cloud-based organisations are also about 21 percentage points more likely to have introduced a new or improved product within the past two years (85% to 64%). 

With many organizations now preparing for the challenges of a digital future, the Gallup study looked at 10 emerging technologies including AI, edge and quantum computing, blockchain, and cryptocurrency. 

Among employers in Singapore, 68% 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 44%. 

“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,” said Gallup principal economist Jonathan Rothwell.

“The opportunity for Singapore to be competitive in the digital economy depends on having a robust and highly skilled workforce to support current and future innovations,” said Rothwell. 

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. 

In Singapore, 88% of employers surveyed reported they were seeking to fill openings that require digital skills, but 82% said it is challenging to find the talent they need. A possible barrier is that 33% of Singaporean organisations prefer a bachelor’s degree, even for entry-level IT staff. 

However, many are starting to recognise that accepting industry certifications can ease their hiring challenges. Among employers, 77% say that digital certifications or training courses are acceptable substitutes for a bachelor’s degree.