For the past four years, we’ve surveyed a range of technologists and leaders to understand the different viewpoints on upskilling and talent mobility that exist within organizations. This year, we had more than 1,000 respondents in APAC, EMEA, and the United States.
While our 2023 State of Upskilling report provides a comprehensive look at upskilling around the world, we wanted to take a closer look at how upskilling differs by region, including each area’s top tech skills, barriers, and digital transformation priorities.
Which regions did we survey?
For our 2023 report, we surveyed 1,216 technologists, tech leaders, and HR/L&D directors in the United States, United Kingdom, India, and Australia. Here’s the breakdown by region:
United States - 33%
United Kingdom - 33%
India - 17%
Australia - 17%
Digital transformation by region
We asked tech team executives from all regions if they were actively engaged in a digital transformation. This included:
Data pipeline implementation
Adoption of Agile methodologies
Compared to EMEA and the US, more APAC tech team executives said their organizations were actively engaged in all types of digital transformation. This is likely due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which accelerated growth in the region. In fact, 71% of APAC tech team executives said their organizations are actively engaged in a large digital transformation project (compared to 54% of tech team executives from all regions).
The most common type of digital transformation in APAC organizations? Cloud transformation.
More APAC organizations plan to increase their upskilling investment
With digital transformation at the forefront of many organizations, leaders recognize that technologists need to develop top tech skills to keep up with the rapid pace of change. 85% of APAC tech team executives said they plan to increase their investment in technology skill development despite economic uncertainty.
This is significantly higher than the average response of 72% across regions.
Certain regions face more barriers to upskilling
The top barriers to upskilling for tech team executives from all regions include:
Budget constraints and costs
Employers who emphasize hiring rather than upskilling existing talent
Inability to access the necessary tools and training
APAC tech team executives face the most resistance—they’re more likely to experience more upskilling barriers than US tech team executives. A couple factors may contribute to this. First, COVID-19 accelerated growth in the region, leaving many organizations struggling to hire or develop technologists with the skills needed to keep up with the changes.
And second, a PwC study found that 42% of APAC employees are worried their employer won’t teach them the technology skills they need. Upskilling is often regarded as a short-term fix, rather than a strategic initiative, which can make it harder to build the business case for tech skill development.
What are APAC, EMEA, and US technologists’ top reasons for upskilling?
For EMEA technologists, the highest motivator to learn top tech skills is to grow their skill set for personal development (52%). For those in APAC, the biggest motivator is to explore a career change (64%). And for US technologists, it’s to boost their salary (64%).
Are APAC, EMEA, or US technologists more confident in top tech skills?
Technologists in different regions are confident in different skill areas. Let’s look at how they stack up :
*This chart shows technologist skill confidence across all regions.
APAC technologists are significantly more confident in their software development skills than their US and EMEA counterparts. In fact, 75% of APAC technologists are fairly or completely confident in their software development skills as opposed to 54% of EMEA technologists and 57% of US technologists.
Technologists could use a confidence boost in blockchain, especially those in US and enterprise companies (companies with more than 1,000 employees).
Technologists at US organizations are significantly less confident in AI/ML than those in APAC or EMEA. Region by region, APAC technologists (48%) are most confident in AI/ML, followed by EMEA (38%), and finally the US (32%).
What are the top tech skills in APAC, EMEA, and the US?
According to a Gallup survey, 76% of APAC organizations that employ workers with advanced digital skills report annual revenues that are 150% higher than those that employ workers with basic digital skills. As APAC organizations look to boost their ROI and drive digital transformation, they want their technologists to develop the top tech skills needed to help them get there.
APAC tech managers are more likely to ask employees to upskill in data science than those in the US or EMEA.
If given paid time to learn, about a third of APAC technologists would prioritize learning AI/ML. APAC tech managers are also more likely to ask employees to upskill in AI/ML (25%), significantly more than in the US or EMEA.
If their organization gave them paid time to learn during the work week, 64% of APAC technologists would choose to prioritize learning cybersecurity, considerably more than EMEA or US respondents.
Which certifications are technologists studying for?
The top tech skill certifications that APAC technologists are currently studying for are in data science and cloud.
Paid learning time in APAC, EMEA, and the US
US technologists are the most available to learn outside of work hours. 22% report being able to spend time outside regular work hours to learn new tech skills, compared to 20% of APAC and 17% of EMEA technologists. Regardless of technologists’ availability to learn on their own, they need dedicated learning time during work hours.
Which region is more likely to provide paid time to learn cybersecurity?
According to Deloitte’s Cyber Smart: Enabling APAC businesses report, “three in five businesses in the Asia Pacific region have put off digitization out of fear of cyberattacks.” But they may be planning to overcome this fear with proper training and preparation: More APAC organizations provide paid time to learn cybersecurity than other regions.
58% of APAC and 51% of EMEA tech managers said their organizations provide paid time to learn cybersecurity. However, only 39% of US tech managers reported the same, which significantly brought down the overall average of 50%.
Which region is more likely to provide paid time to learn tech fundamentals?
US tech managers report their organizations are significantly more likely to provide paid time to learn big-picture fundamentals than APAC or EMEA managers. More US organizations are starting to recognize the value of fostering tech fluency in addition to developing top tech skills. Tech fluency gives technical and non-technical employees a basic understanding of key technologies to improve communication and collaboration across an organization.
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