More skilled workers needed for digital economy

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
With the increase in digitalisation, ICT will become the engine of economic growth. Pha Lina

More skilled workers needed for digital economy

The Information Communications Technology (ICT)  sector, which is expected to drive Cambodia’s future economy, needs skilled workforce to meet the growing market demand.

The “Cambodian ICT Master Plan 2020” clearly indicates the government’s intention to shift towards digitalisation.

The plan aims to build “Cambodia as an intelligent and comfortable nation with intelligent people, intelligent society and intelligent government by ICT.”

But there is a shortage of specialised workforce to propel the ICT sector, which will eventually become the engine for industrial growth.

“Cambodia needs a critical mass of skilled workers to take off. There are not many skilled workers at the moment, like programmers, web developers or mobile phone programmers,” Cambodia Fintech Association vice-president Eddie Lee told The Post.

“There is a high demand for talented workforce in the digital market and if there is a local talent pool, more foreign companies will come to Cambodia to set up shops, and this will in turn create jobs. If there is no talent [workforce], it will be hard to bring major foreign companies to Cambodia,” he added.

The shortage of skilled professionals  could be a roadblock for Cambodia’s aim to become a digital economy by 2023 and could even slowdown the Kingdom’s economic growth that is growing at an average seven per cent annually.

From cyber security, e-commerce, cloud, Artificial Intelligence to e-payment systems - some buzzwords in the digital economy- need the right talents as the nation shifts to digital economy.     

Speaking at a recent event, the Minister of Education, Youth and Sport Dr Hang Chuon Naron, said:“Cambodia must be ready to embrace new skills in technology to face future challenges”.

“In the digital world, knowledge is changing fast and we need to create a new generation of Cambodians,” he said.   

(The minister was speaking at the Smart Axiata’s award presentation ceremony for the winners of SmartEduc University Student Development Program which was held on December 1).  

A report  titled “Cambodia Job Outlook” released by the Labour Ministry’s National Employment Agency, with technical support of the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, revealed that IT professionals are becoming increasingly important in the labour market due to the rise of digitalisation.

“IT skills are demanded throughout the labour market. In particular, IT skills are strongly required not only in the ICT sector itself, but also in financial and business services, manufacturing, commerce and public services,” said the report.

ICT user support technicians, software and system developers, system analysts and IT architects, graphic and multimedia designers, ICT operation technicians are some of the jobs that will be in high demand in the Kingdom.

“However, in order to work in these occupations, one must have solid knowledge and experience in software and system development,” added the report.

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