Digital-savviness not a top requirement for board-level jobs, study shows

According to a recent study published in Harvard Business Review, being comfortable with digital technology does not top the list when it comes to job requirements for executive or board-level jobs.

While digital and tech-related skills are a must for CIO or CTO positions, this drops to 60% for CEO listings, 40% for board, CFO and COO listings, and 30% for HR positions.

The researchers analysed 100 search specifications for C-suite positions in Fortune 1000 companies (the data gathered was published between January 2016 and June 2020).

  1. Yo-Jud Cheng, the leader of the research group, predicts that the years to come will be turbulent in terms of management turnover and will be driven by skills requirements and digital knowledge.

Cheng said that it was the ongoing pandemic that turned the spotlight on executives who are not up to the challenge presented by modern technology.

When new, tech-savvy talent enters the marketplace, we are likely to see a fair share of turbulence that will make the differences between the two dichotomous groups even more apparent.

According to a 2019 study by Gartner, these are the top skills needed in the C-suite:

  • Data science
  • Machine learning techniques
  • Cyber security
  • DevOps
  • Design thinking
  • AI

In order to mould future corporate leaders, Peter Weill and the MIT Sloan team of researchers believe that the following steps will be necessary:

  1. Assessing the digital-savviness of executives

This will highlight those who are digitally-savvy and those who are lagging behind.

  1. Reverse mentoring

There is always an opportunity to learn, whether it be from those who are ahead of you or those who are behind.

  1. Strengthening key members is a priority

In the end, it is the CEOs who lead companies, so this is a good place to start.

  1. Finding development opportunities

Even if digital competency will not yield a promotion overnight, it makes you qualified.