EMEA Digital Skills Survey Shows Value, Drivers & Obstacles

In a recent survey commissioned by VMware, over 500 CxOs, IT developers and operators, and office workers in companies with 100+ employees shared their thoughts relating to the “digital skills” for their jobs.

(This is Part 2 of a two-part exploration into the survey. Read the introduction and overview in Part 1 here.)

Here’s a quick look at some of the survey’s key findings:

Digital skills = real business impact:

  • 71% of EMEA employees think the widespread use of digital skills can improve competitive edge
  • 66% think the widespread use of digital skills will increase revenue/profitability over the next five years

Barriers to overcome:

  • Only 48% of today’s workforce are able to fully use their digital skills within their organisations, because:
    • “digital” is not integrated into personal objectives (51%)
    • a lack of budget (43%)
    • a lack of adequate support from IT (40%)
  • Less than half (48%) of today’s workforce believe they are able to fully use their digital skills within their organisations. Barriers to realizing employees’ full digital skills are due to a complex range of reasons, including:
    • “digital” not being integrated into personal objectives (51%)
    • lack of budget (43%)
    • lack of adequate support from IT (40%)
    • company policies being too restrictive (39%).  

Digital skills are a priority for employees of all ages, not just Millennials or Generation Z:

  • Older generations of the workforce are actively pursuing more technical digital skills, for example:
    • 39% of 45-54 year olds seeking advice or training on designing and building mobile applications
    • almost a third (31%) of 55 year olds and over doing the same for coding and creating online content.
  • Almost two thirds (64% ) willing to use their own time to learn new digital skills and ways of working that will drive productivity in the business.
  • To improve digital skills, priority areas to focus on include:
    • more investment in formal training to further develop digital skills (54%)
    • better reward and recognition for using digital skills (47%)
    • development of a culture that better embraces digital skills (44%).

The alignment between IT and senior management needs to play a significant role in driving change towards a more digitally led organisation:

  • The IT department was ranked first for being responsible for driving this change (with 34% of respondents seeing it as responsible), compared to the MD/CEO (19%), the Board (16%) and heads of other individual departments (13%).

But to affect change within the organisation, many employees believe senior management needs to take a more active role, with only half (50%) saying senior management encourages the use of new ways of working in the organisation.   

Digital skills CTA for EMEA (and elsewhere)

VMware has built its business on providing the technology to help organisations transform the way they do business and how people collaborate. But this is only part of the story; without the talent, and a culture that enables that talent to thrive, organisations will never be able to fully exploit their full potential, regardless of the modernity and flexibility of their IT infrastructure.

Many organisations fail to harness the digital talent required to ensure they do not get left behind in the wave of “digitisation” sweeping through businesses. We’re not just talking about the more technical skills, such as coding, network management, or security, but also the softer skills to behave more digitally are just as crucial. We need to collectively focus on nurturing the digital skills required by almost all of us.

Commitment and leadership are required

  • Businesses won’t change for the digital age if they don’t have the framework (development plan, KPIs, means of measurement) in place to support it.
  • If the Board isn’t already involved in this, then have the CIO (or CDO) make the business case explaining why it’s crucial for the organisation.

Nurturing the digital skills of employees of all ages will allow organisations to exploit their full potential and innovate for tomorrow.