A recent business report has unveiled a growing necessity for enhanced digital education to cultivate the level of technology confidence seen in Generation Z throughout the entire business spectrum.
Advanced, a prominent business software firm, published the report after surveying over 6,600 senior executives, revealing a notable contrast in technology confidence between the youngest and oldest cohorts of business leaders.
The findings underscore a concerning decline in confidence among older business leaders, particularly those aged 55 and above.
Only 17 percent of leaders in this demographic express strong confidence in their IT solutions supporting their business model, a stark contrast to the 50 percent reported by their counterparts aged 18-24.
Moreover, a mere 20 percent of business leaders across all age groups feel that their current technology infrastructure provides a secure environment for their operations.
The report highlights a striking generational gap, with 43 percent of young business leaders believing in a strong digital enablement strategy from their leadership, compared to a meagre 22 percent among those aged 55 and above.
Simon Walsh, CEO of Advanced, suggests that older employees may possess a broader understanding of the challenges within their roles, potentially contributing to their scepticism about technology. However, Walsh also notes the possibility that younger leaders’ confidence stems from their better understanding and utilisation of technology for organisational benefit.
The report delves into future plans, revealing that 77 percent of young business leaders plan to upgrade their digital systems, in sharp contrast to the 45 percent of leaders aged 55 and above with similar intentions.
Interestingly, the barriers to digital transformation appear rooted in beliefs and attitudes rather than the technology itself. Resistance to new technology is attributed to an attachment to traditional methods (41%), a lack of buy-in from employees (34%), and a similar lack of buy-in from leaders (30%).
Simon Walsh raises a concern, emphasising the importance of employees and leaders actively embracing new technology and investing time in training and migration processes to unlock the full benefits.
The survey also sheds light on the perceived effectiveness of digital solutions across various business departments. Only 29 percent of all respondents claim that no areas of their business lack digital solutions, with 49 percent of the eldest age group expressing dissatisfaction.
For the older age group, steps toward digital transformation involve better systems integration (51%), improved functionality (42%), and enhanced security measures (36%). These insights suggest that existing technology solutions addressing these concerns are underutilise, emphasising the need for a shift in mindset and skills development.
As Advanced’s 2023/24 report marks its eighth year, the comprehensive survey provides valuable insights. The full report can be downloaded from the company’s website, offering a detailed examination of the challenges and opportunities in bridging the digital divide within the business landscape.
Amelia Brand is the Editor for HRreview, and host of the HR in Review podcast series. With a Master’s degree in Legal and Political Theory, her particular interests within HR include employment law, DE&I, and wellbeing within the workplace. Prior to working with HRreview, Amelia was Sub-Editor of a magazine, and Editor of the Environmental Justice Project at the University College London, writing and overseeing articles into UCL’s weekly newsletter. Her previous academic work has focused on philosophy, politics and law, with a special focus on how artificial intelligence will feature in the future.