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Our Insights > European Non-Exec Directors Lack Digital Skills

European Non-Exec Directors Lack Digital Skills

10 February 2022

The future is digital. Are you prepared?

There is a skills shortage in the digital sector in Europe. Skillsets can’t keep pace with digital growth, which is opening wide skills gaps in the industry. What’s more, employees at all levels lack the digital literacy that companies need to keep pace with new technologies. In fact, 32% of the EU workforce has low or no digital skills, according to the European Commission.

Studies have identified a worrying lack of digital skills in the higher levels of companies in specialised areas like cloud, mobile, big data and social media. While, change is happening slowly, and digital literacy is on the rise, but there is still a lack of the necessary digital skills among non-executive directors in Europe.

CEOs are aware of the importance of digital investments, and know that they must keep pace with social media, content marketing, cybersecurity, big data and cloud computing and champion the use of these technologies to stay safe and competitive. But very few non-executive directors have the necessary digital skills to deliver this:

“A mere 1 per cent of NEDs at Europe’s top 100 companies have proven digital skills”

Financial Times

These figures show that skill levels are wildly disparate from digital growth in the UK. Only a handful of FTSE 100 companies have ‘digital boards’ and few demonstrate ‘serious digital experience.’ Non-execs lack the training and experience required of digital directors, the reason so many organisations are opting to outsource to an external digital director with the proven expertise to support non-execs.

Europe also reportedly lags far behind the US when it comes to the recruitment of ‘digital’ non-executive directors, and small companies in the UK are the least digital-savvy.

“We simply have less supply of digital directors than the US”

Nancy Cruickshank, Non-Executive Director at TelecityGroup

If Europe and, in particular, the UK is to keep pace with growth and compete in a global market, then decision makers at the highest levels must be digitally literate and understand the challenges and opportunities offered by digital growth.

“We urgently need more digital leaders to ensure UK business can best compete on the world stage”

Rhys Grossman, Russell Reynolds

 Are your non-execs lacking in the necessary digital skills? Let me plug the gap. I offer the benefits of a Digital Director with 15 years experience, ready to go as soon as you say the word. Get in touch today to discuss how I can help you improve your digital literacy.