Executives confident in their own but not their companies’ digital abilities

Research Executives Online conducted this spring shows that a large majority (83 percent) of senior executives feel personally able to keep up with digital advancements in their industry, although more than two thirds (69 percent) believe their employers are not investing enough to ensure that their companies do too.

The large majority of respondents (80 percent) feel that digital innovation has changed the way that their company does business, but only a third of all companies (31 percent) believe that skills shortages have been caused as a result.

We find it interesting to see that while senior employees are confident in their own abilities, they are not confident that their employers are doing enough to address digital skills shortages across their businesses. Employees’ personal capabilities leading the firm’s development of business-specific digital capabilities may be a function of the technologies in question, such as social media which had its genesis in the realm of connecting friends and keeping up personal connections.

Our research found that executives in the telecommunications, IT and technology; business and professional services; and retail, FMCG and food and drinks sectors are most likely to be confident about their own digital skills (92 percent, 83 percent and 83 percent respectively). Conversely, those in finance, financial services and banking are the least confident in their own skills (77 percent) and least likely to think that their companies are investing sufficiently in keeping up with advancements in digital technology (73 percent).

The research shows that digital innovation has had the most significant impact on business operations in the finance, financial services and banking sector (92 percent) and the telecoms, IT and technology sector (88 percent).  However, with fast-paced changes in multi-channel customer engagement and the need for traceability, it’s surprising to find that nearly a third of senior executives working in the retail, FMCG and food and drink sectors believe digital technology has not changed the way they do business.

Companies are extending their employee training and recruiting digital specialists to a similar degree to keep up with digital advancements in their industries.  The investment in both training and recruitment is highest in the telecoms, IT and technology sector (48 percent and 38 percent respectively) and lowest overall in the industrial, manufacturing and construction industries (33 percent and 22 percent respectively).

At Executives Online, we provide executives with experience across all industry sectors for both permanent and interim roles. Whether there’s a need to bring in new digital skills, or to guide training programmes in-house, we deliver a highly tailored service to match our clients’ needs.

Placements in the digital space include a Head of E-Commerce EMEA and a Head of Digital Marketing EMEA for a computer security software provider, an Interim Online Business Manager to help a linens company set up their very first online business, an IT Consultant to assist a scientific charitable organisation in remedying problems created in a new website redesign, an Affiliate Marketing Manager for a social networking site, a Head of E-Commerce for a national bus transport operator, and an Interim Marketing Director, an Interim Software Projects Director and an Interim Head of Data and Analysis for a market leading provider of B2B software and systems.

News of our research was first reported in Recruitment International, Recruitment Grapevine, Recruitment Agency Now, Re:Locate magazine, Data IQ, OnRec, Fresh Business Thinking, Information World Review (IWR), and others.

Need help ensuring your organisation's digital capabilities keep pace with the market? Contact your nearest Executives Online office today.

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