“Millennial Myth” Busted: Employees of All Ages Drive Digital Change

As the world continues to change, so must the ways businesses work—and so must the skill sets of employees at all levels.

Digital tools and processes help us to work more flexibly and effectively, to improve business processes, and to drive changes in companies’ products, services, and business models.

But digital tools—cloud computing capabilities, mobile devices, and productivity and collaborative applications—don’t do it alone. “Digital skills”—the ability to use the technology of your choosing to find, access, analyse, use and share information and data, to change and improve ways of working—drive change, too.

For employees whose companies do have “any device, any app, any place” IT-enabled business processes, this means the skills, and willingness, to use these apps and devices. For CxOs, the insight to find business opportunities. And for IT, the expertise to develop and operate these tools.

Within EMEA, do companies value digital skills? Do employees have or seek them?

To explore these questions, VMware recently commissioned a survey by specialist market research agency Vanson Bourne. The answers may surprise you.

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 1 of a two-part exploration into the survey: we’ll  highlight key findings and what they mean for companies and employees in EMEA. Part 2 takes a detailed look at some of the findings.

The survey: polling companies across EMEA

The survey results reflect over 500 responses, from CxOs, from IT developers and operators, and from office workers who work with who regularly access data or information via the web, in companies with 100+ employees across Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA).

What the survey shows

Answers indicated not only that digital skills are important, but that “softer” digital skills, and learning new skills, are important to this audience. The results highlight the importance of less technical skills to help workers be more productive, and that this is a key priority for many.

Among other things, the survey also shows that far from being confined to the Millennial or Generation Z demographics, digital skills are a priority for, and relevant to, all employees, of all ages, impacting them and the broader business.

Survey implications for EMEA employees and companies

To grow your company’s digital skills expertise:

  • Define the digital skills you want, to align and engage all generations (i.e. be specific when using terminology like ‘coding’ that can carry different meanings with different audiences)
  • Successful business transformation in our digital world is shaped by culture, people, and capabilities
  • Nurturing the digital skills of employees of all ages will allow organisations to exploit their full potential and innovate for tomorrow
  • Consider investing in social-sharing tools to enable people to collaborate more effectively and avoid ad-hoc BYO activity that compromises security
  • Greater alignment between IT and senior management will play a significant role in enabling a more digitally-led organisation
  • The IT department was seen as most responsible for driving this change, more so than the MD/CEO, the Board and heads of other individual departments.

“Successful digital transformation in today’s business world is shaped by culture, people and capabilities,” comments Joe Baguley, vice president & chief technology officer EMEA, VMware.

“Enterprises are rightly investing heavily in ‘digital’ talent as they look to harness the key skills and capabilities that can help organisations evolve to innovate faster and fully engage customers – both of which impact an organisation’s bottom line. We’re committed to working with all organisations to help them better understand the ‘art of the possible’ with regards to truly transforming for the digital age without compromising security and operations. Only then will businesses be able to fully utilise their talent, of all ages, and realise their potential.”

(This is Part 1 of a two-part exploration into the survey. Check out the deeper analysis of the data in Part 2 here.)