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Demand among Women to Upskill for the Digital Economy Is High, according to New Study


Singapore-headquartered She Loves Data (SLD), a global-not-for profit organisation focused on creating fairer opportunity pools for women in the accelerating data economy, conducted a Southeast Asia consumer survey in collaboration with Milieu Insight to gather workforce insights on learning pathways. Survey results showed that 87% of women in the region are interested in taking courses to develop their professional skills. 44% of employees in Southeast Asia and more than half (57%) in Indonesia intend to make a career switch within the next 5 years.

Singapore female employees trailed behind the region average in terms of familiarity with digital marketing (5% vs 16% indicated ‘very familiar’). Entrepreneurship motivations were strongest among women aged 35 years and above in Thailand (48%) and the Philippines (43%) where almost half sought to upskill as they had plans to set up their own business.

Latest UN data show that the world is critically off track to reach gender equality by 2030. With UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) underscoring the empowerment of women as an important development objective, SLD aims to address the gender gap by creating equal opportunities for women in their career development.

Jana Marle-Zizkova, Co-founder of and volunteering CEO at She Loves Data, said, “As businesses across all industries embrace digital transformation, corporations and employers struggle to fill roles across all digital skills domains. We hope to narrow the digital competence gap with the new SLDxDigital training so women get their fair share of digital economy opportunities.”

Starting in March 2023, She Loves Data will be launching its bespoke pilot digital skills training program SLDxDigital to provide reskilling pathways that will equip women with transferable skills in areas of digital innovation, digital analytics and data-driven digital marketing. SLDxDigital is a certification training program spread over three modules, with each module lasting four weeks. Classes will be delivered virtually on Saturdays to ensure career women can also participate.

The curriculum is prepared and delivered by experienced industry professionals. Training materials are reviewed by the Advisory Board with Georges Mao from Meta as Board Chairman, David Dubois from INSEAD and Jana Marle-Zizkova and Dr Priyanka Dwivedi from She Loves Data. Upon successful completion of each module, participants are awarded a digital certificate.

“Communities such as She Loves Data create a safe space for learning and networking for women which has a profound bearing on their careers,” said Dr Dwivedi, Research Fellow affiliated with Anglia Ruskin University. Peer learning is recognised as one of the most potent means of impactful learning. Networking builds social capital that may translate into mentorship, referrals, and sponsorship opportunities in the future. In doing so, these communities hold great promise to facilitate the corporates’ diversity, equity, and inclusion objectives by increasing the representation of women in tech roles and building a talent pool of skilled women for promotions to senior roles.”

Marle-Zizkova added: “In the long run, She Loves Data aims to provide a supportive professional network to develop a solid pipeline of women leaders who are ready to enter the C-suites and board rooms. In response to the global talent shortage crisis and under-representation of women in many industries, we hope both the private and public sector can take an active role in supporting communities like She Loves Data as we seek to future-proof the workforce by training tech, digital and analytics skills.”

IT/ Computing/ Programming (33%) emerged as one of the top three professional courses that women in Southeast Asia are interested in taking. Data and digital analytics courses are also one of the top courses sought after by Singaporean women (38%). Nearly 8 in 10 of the region’s female employees prefer professional courses to be conducted online

Antarika Sen, PhD, Senior Researcher at Milieu Insight, shared: “We’re currently facing a dynamic job market, reflected in our study where 25% and 17% of women in the region have changed occupations or industries respectively in the past year. Our research also reveals that among women in the region, the top motivators for enrolling in a professional course this year is are the desire to improve their job performance (59%), increase job prospects/employability (44%) and make the most of their free time (39%).”

She added: “This highlights the importance placed on personal and professional development. It’s interesting to also find out that 79% prefer online professional courses, which shows that it’s vital for organisations to provide accessible and supportive ecosystems to help women upskill and advance in their careers. Additionally, over 5 in 10 women in Singapore find industry-recognised qualifications as a key deciding factor, further emphasising the need for organisations to provide viable pathways for women’s professional growth.”

She Loves Data encourages women who are interested in upskilling and organisations that are keen to partner with She Loves Data to seek more information on their website