Employees with basic through to advanced digital skill levels in Hong Kong turned out to be vital force in boosting the GDP of the city. Overall they increased Hong Kong’s annual gross domestic product (GDP) by US $47.5 billion.
Employees, who use advanced digitala skills – including cloud architecture or software development – contribute an estimated US $5.4 billion to Hong Kong’s GDP. This is attributed to the 58% higher salaries that these employees earn compared to those with a similar education who do not use digital skills at work.
The “AWS Hong Kong 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 employees, organisations, and economies.
More than 300 employers surveyed in Hong Kong from a variety of public and private sector organisations and industries.
List of basic digital skills
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 and its benefits
Advanced digital skills include cloud architecture or maintenance, software or application development, artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning.
The study found that advanced digital employees in Hong Kong are benefitting from more than just a boost in their income. The average employees with advanced digital skills earn 58% more than similar employees who do not use digital skills which translates into individual gains of USD $19,699. 50% of employees in Hong Kong who use advanced digital skills express higher job satisfaction, compared to 26% with intermediate skills and 36% with basic digital skills.
Similarly, employers that rely heavily on advanced digitally-skilled employees, digital technology, and cloud technology reap higher business growth and innovation.
The study found that 65% of digitally advanced organisations in Hong Kong introduced new, innovative products in the last two years, compared to 51% of their less digital counterparts.
Around 57% of Hong Kong organisations that run most of their business on the cloud report steady annual revenue growth of 10% or more, compared to 30% of those that use the cloud for some of its business.
The study also shows that companies in Hong Kong running most of their business on the cloud boast innovation rates 35 percentage points higher than companies that use the cloud for some of its business or do not use it at all (84% vs. 49%).
With many organisations 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. 58% of employers in Hong Kong say at least one of these technologies is likely to become a standard part of their future business operations, with 5G and Artificial Intelligence ranking the highest at 36% and 28%.
“People in Hong Kong 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 Hong Kong at the individual, organisational, and macroeconomic level,” 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 Hong Kong 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 digital workers will remain strong in the coming years. A staggering 77% of Hong Kong employers surveyed reported they were seeking to fill openings that require digital skills, but 72% said it is challenging to find the talent they need. A possible barrier is that 31% of Hong Kong 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. 69% of employers say that digital certifications or training courses are acceptable substitutes for a bachelor’s degree.