2020 Digital Skills Survey
Executive Survey Results

Executive Work Experience

As you might expect, Executives have the most varied backgrounds of all the respondents in the 2018 Digital Skills Survey, with marketing/sales, development, and customer support figuring prominently.

In which domain did you begin your career?

Like last year, it was surprising how few Executives started their career in design. This may have more to do with the fact that other disciplines, like marketing, for example, involve much more inter-team collaboration, which can lead to leadership roles.

Digital Skills and Tools

If you've heard a lot about digital transformation over the years, there's a very good reason: 74 percent of Executives said their organization was actively involved in digital transformation activities, and a whopping 82 percent of Executives said that their digital investments were growing or stable.

How would you describe your company's digital investments?

As proof, consider that 80 percent of our executive respondents said that there are digital elements of their product or service that did not exist just five years ago.

Are there digital elements of your product or service that weren't there five years ago?

Despite this, 92 percent said they still plan to increase their digital transformation activities in the future, which really highlights the rapid pace of change across industries.

Are you planning to increase your organization's digital transformation activities in the future?

When asked where they've currently invested, 50 percent said eCommerce, 43 percent said AI, and 35 percent said machine learning.

Which of the following emerging areas has your organization invested in?

When asked what their organizations are investing in for 2020, 45 percent of Executives said AI, 40 percent said eCommerce, and 39 percent said machine learning.

Which of the following emerging areas does your organization intend to invest in for 2020?

Out of the seven channels listed, the most common types of digital marketing tactics that Executives reported investing in were SEO (57 percent), email marketing (56 percent), content marketing (55 percent) and organic social media (52 percent), which is in line with what our marketing respondents said.

And when it came to data usage, a slight discrepancy exists between our executive and data groups. Much like last year, data professionals cited optimization of existing platforms and products as their primary use of data, which differs from executive respondents, who said their organizations' main use of data was for the development of new ideas, products, and services.

That this difference has shown up two years in a row may say something about how organizations are still trying to understand how to best leverage data.

Professional Development

72 percent of Executives said that digital skills training would make them more successful in their role, with respondents citing data (35 percent) and marketing (26 percent) as the digital skills that would most help their professional development. Interestingly, only 7 percent felt design skills would help their career.

To underscore the importance they place on digital skills training, 42 percent said their organizations have already implemented digital skills training initiatives and 19 percent said they'd be implementing it in the future.

Has your company implemented digital skills training initiatives?

85 percent of Executives say that teams in their organization have participated in workshops, seminars, or conferences; 75 percent say teams have participated in webinars, and 65 percent say teams have participated in in-person courses.

When asked about the employee digital skills that would make the organization more successful, 35 percent cited data skills, 22 percent cited marketing skills, and 17 percent cited development skills. Again, design skills were ranked surprisingly low, with only 9 percent of execs citing it.

Your company would be more successful if employees had better digital skills in...

To stay on top of industry knowledge, Executives most frequently rely on seminars and conferences (63 percent) and digital skills training (48 percent). It's worth noting, however, that 32 percent said it's hard to find the time.