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Over a Million New Zealand Workers Need Digital Training Next Year

Responding to a just-released report by the private sector, NZTech Chief Executive Graeme Muller says it’s not that surprising to know New Zealand needs to upskill a million Kiwi workers with better digital skills next year. The industry body leader reasoned the development shows just how much COVID has accelerated the drive to digital for most businesses in New Zealand and around the world.

NZTech is New Zealand’s body that’s mainly focused on making the country a digital nation. The organisation made headlines when it led a government-funded marketing campaign to showcase Aoteroan technological expertise to the world.

There is no silver bullet to this global digital skills shortage, but if New Zealand can accelerate our local response we stand to gain considerable benefits including creating many higher-value jobs, improved employee satisfaction and output, high productivity and high-value exports.

– Graeme Muller, Chief Executive Officer, NZTech

Muller’s comments were directed at research recently released by one of the biggest cloud computing services in the country. The study pointed out that over 1 million New Zealand workers will need digital skills training in the next year. It also detailed that workers that needed the training would not just be from the tech sector but from across the entire economy.

The training needed is not just all about IT. As the lead researcher of the study explained the vast majority of digitally skilled workers are working across the economy in manufacturing, in agriculture and using their digital skills in their day-to-day work. Furthermore, the study enumerated the number of workers that needed training.

  • over 650,000 already had some digital skills but would need to retrain
  • 350,000 workers had no digital skills and needed to be fully trained

Moreover, the study revealed that the two most highly sought after digital skills were in cloud computing and cybersecurity. This reflected the current needs of businesses over the last few years. Muller, however, recalled that since 2020, their group has been calling for New Zealand to develop more digital talent. Specifically, NZTech’s digital skills for a digital future report released in 2020 highlighted the decreasing number of students learning digital skills in our education system and the growing need to have digital skills in many jobs.

He expounded that the government has been steadily pursuing an aggressive plan to encourage more New Zealanders to take up digital skills. He cites that Aotearoa’s digital industry transformation plan has a large section dedicated to the critical need for improving New Zealand’s digital skills in order to ensure the digital sector continues to grow at a pace creating thousands of new high paying jobs for Kiwis.

The digital road mad has been currently out for consultation by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, as reported on OpenGov Asia. While it may address the issue of lack of digital skills, in the long run, the need for the country to address the talent shortage becomes more pressing as the days go by.

Indeed, Wellington has been actively pursuing its digital transformation with great intent. Just recently, it eased its borders to ICT workers from other countries, as reported on OpenGov Asia. Still, it may have to find more ingenious ways to address its growing talent shortage — and fast.


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