Investing in digital skills could add €9.5 billion to Irish economy, claims reports

Investing in digital skills could add E95 billion to Irish



A Google and Amarach survey of 1,000 Irish SMEs shows that the majority of them are ‘less than halfway’ on their digital journey.

The pandemic has shifted the priorities of companies large and small, with digital transformation at the top of the agenda. Now a new report claims that a national investment in digital skills could add €9.5 billion to the Irish economy over the next three years.

Commissioned by Google and conducted by Irish market research firm Amarach, the Bridging the Gap report is based on a survey of 1,000 Irish SME leaders in December.

The survey asked Irish SME leaders about their experiences and aspirations in digitally transforming their business and found that a majority (62 percent) of them are “less than half way” on their digital journey.

For example, just over half (55 percent) of Irish SMEs surveyed were found to have their own website – significantly lower than the European average of 77 percent – ​​while only 53 percent have accounts on social media and video platforms and 18 percent use customer insight tools.

Challenges

The report found that Irish SMEs show strong interest in investing in digital skills, but challenges such as “lack of strategic clarity” and not having the right people to oversee transformation continue to hinder progress .

About 41 percent of respondents agreed that they don’t have a single person within the organization to help other employees develop their digital skills.

This is a concern as only about one in four SMEs said their employees have all the skills needed for basic digital skills, while only 11 percent believe their employees have the skills needed to create new ones. successfully apply and use technology.

There is also strong regional disparity in terms of the current state of digital capabilities in Irish SMEs, with those in Dublin reporting a disproportionately better state of play than most other counties.

Irish SME sector

Alice Mansergh, director for small businesses at Google, said any decisions about digital capabilities by business leaders and policymakers will now have “profound implications for the long-term productivity and profitability of SMEs” in Ireland.

“Google, for its part, will use these findings to shape the courses we offer through the Grow with Google initiative, to train people in key digital skills that will enable them to embrace new business and commercial opportunities,” he added. them to it.

Irish SMEs expect significant benefits from improving digital capabilities. About 28 percent of respondents believe it would allow them to increase wages and salaries, while more than half (57 percent) said it would help their business grow faster and become more profitable.

“Small and medium-sized businesses remain the backbone of the Irish economy; accounts for 99 percent of active businesses and 70 percent of employment,” said Leo Clancy, CEO of Enterprise Ireland, of the report. “Digitalization is not an option for successful companies, it is a crucial advantage that allows them to compete and win.”

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