Half of companies lacking digital skills – report

by Brett Henebery02 Aug 2017
Organisations are losing faith in their digital smarts on a global basis, a landmark report has revealed.

PwC’s 2017 Global Digital IQ Survey surveyed 2,216 respondents from 53 countries and found that just 52% of organisations consider their digital skills as “strong”.

Compare that with 67% and 66% in 2016 and 2015, respectively and it’s clear that a concerning trend is developing.

So what can be done to turn this around?

The report recommends that organisations make emerging technology a priority so that the relevant training can help learners enhance their ‘digital IQ’.

“Your leadership team should view emerging tech as a core competency of the organisation. If emerging technology is considered a side project, it is unlikely ever to have any lasting impact on the organisation as a whole,” the report’s authors stated.

“Get your C-suite and your board excited about the potential for emerging technology by showing demos at your next board meeting or encouraging hands-on homework to experiment with consumer technology like home automation systems or AI assistants.”

Another recommendation was that organisations appoint an ‘emerging tech evangelist’.

“While emerging technology needs broad support, it also needs a single individual who has ownership over your emerging tech initiatives. At the same time, the emerging tech leader can’t go it alone,” the report said.

“He or she will need to rely on the expertise of other executives, as your organisation thinks about applying emerging technology to solve business problems.”

However, as organisations consider how to address these challenges, there is another emerging issue that is coming to light: how digital skills (or the lack thereof) is factoring into employee retention.

A recent report from the Pew Research Center revealed that employment is going up faster in roles that require higher levels of education and training.

In 1980, 49 million workers had jobs that required average or above-average levels of training and education; in 2015, that number was at 83 million – a 68% increase, compared with a mere 31% increase in jobs that required below-average levels of education and training.

Nick Deligiannis, managing director of Hays in Australia & New Zealand, said digital upskilling is an area that should factor into staff retention.

“Clearly career progression, ongoing learning & development – particularly in digital skills – and challenging or exciting work are key to successful staff retention in the year ahead,” Deligiannis said.

“While not every workplace or role suits flexible working, for those that do it’s also an important retention tool.”

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