Joel Muckett 15 Nov 2017 08:25am

Gap in digital skills on boards

More than four in ten (43%) boards around the world lack the skills to tackle digital disruption, despite an increased focus on the issue from 70% of them

Gathering responses from more than 826 directors worldwide, a board report by recruitment group Harvey Nash and the London Business School’s Leadership Institute investigated how organisations responded to digital transformation.


While a third of directors (30%) acknowledged that deficiencies in technical skills had prevented the growth of their organisation, 57% of those in the UK believed they had the skills to enable digital transformation.

Nearly two in five (38%) UK business leaders recognised that their organisation had faced digital disruption but there was clearly a gap in the skills to manage this as only 3% of the respondents came from a digital background.


Digital and technology experiences were overwhelmingly considered to be the most important skill to have, with more than 45% listing it as a top priority.


Harvey Nash chief executive Albert Ellis stressed that companies needed to reflect on the changes brought forward by digital technology, especially with it transforming how customers interact with organisations.


“Gone are the days of taking an idea through a year-long series of meetings, committees and approvals,” said Ellis. “The world moves at a faster, less tolerant pace in 2017.”


Cyber security dominated the concerns of organisations globally, with companies worrying over vulnerabilities and threats to network.


Suspicious activity on Internet of Things (IoT) networks and imported mobile devices were cited as key areas for concern, while business leaders also showed concern over the poor behaviour and awareness of personnel.


“Cyber security is moving relentlessly higher in terms of priority in this year’s survey. With new corporate or political breaches internet security underlines the need not just for corporate vigilance, but also proactive action,” said Ellis.


Last month, a report by PwC revealed that one in five organisations in the UK were not prepared for a cyber attack, despite increases in frequency and severity.


In August, research revealed that two thirds of the UK’s top businesses had bosses who were not trained to deal with cyber attacks.