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Only 16% of companies are well prepared for the digital economy

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While there are many benefits to being digital winners (defined as companies with executives who are better prepared for the digital economy), Leaders 2020, a new study conducted by Oxford Economics and sponsored by SAP found that most companies are stuck in the past.

Surveying more than 2,050 executives and 2,050 non-executive employees in 21 countries, the study found that while digital winners were spread fairly evenly across industries, regions, and functions, only 16% of the companies qualified as a digital winners.

Employees from digital winners were found to be more satisfied (87%) compared to those from other companies (63%) and more likely to stay in their jobs if given the chance to leave (75% employees from digital winners vs. 54% employees from other companies).

With 93% of very satisfied employees routinely going well beyond the minimum requirements of their job, compared to 39% of dissatisfied workers, digital winners were also 38% more likely than others to report strong revenue and profit growth (76% vs. 55%).

These companies were also found to have more mature strategies and programmes for hiring skilled talent (85% vs. 64%), building diversity (56%, vs. 48%), and succession planning (72% vs. 50%).

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Sadly, apart from the low percentage of companies qualifying as a digital winners, only 60% of companies surveyed have programmes in place to ensure they were developing a digital workforce.

When it comes to developing a digital workforce, both executives and employees see room for improvement. The study found that only 36% of executives and 31% of employees felt that mid-managers were proficient at using technology for competitive advantage.

Unsurprisingly, it’s the Millennials who were the least satisfied with their organisation’s digital capabilities. Only 37% of Millennials thought that their senior management is proficient in using technology for competitive advantage 37% compared to 60% of non-Millennials. This generation were also less likely to think that decisions were mapped to company strategies most or all of the time (38% vs 59%).

The study revealed that Millennials also didn’t think very highly of their organisation’s ability to manage a diverse workforce or develop the next generation of leaders.

Only 39% of Millennials thought their senior management is proficient in managing a diverse workforce compared to 54% of the other generations, and only 38% of Millennials felt their organisation devotes resources to training the next generation of leaders compared to 48% of non-Millennials.

Millennial executives were also less confident in their company’s ability to recruit skilled workers (54%, vs. 70%), develop talent for the digital workplace (52% vs. 65%), and plan for succession (39% vs. 56%).

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Additionally, the study highlights the necessity of understanding diversity as a business issue.

Digital winners were also more likely to recognise the positive impacts of diversity on culture (66% vs. 47%) and financial performance (37% vs. 29%). They were also found to have a higher proportion of female employees than other companies.

Leaders 2020 infographic

Lead photo / 123RF

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