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THE AUSTRALIAN DIGITAL SKILLS AND SALARY SURVEY 2015
AUSTRALIA
IS FACING A MAJOR
DIGITAL SKILLS
SHORTAGEWith a new study s...
2THE AUSTRALIAN DIGITAL SKILLS AND SALARY SURVEY 2015Copyright © 2015 Slade Group
Australia’s digital communications workf...
3THE AUSTRALIAN DIGITAL SKILLS AND SALARY SURVEY 2015Copyright © 2015 Slade Group
What are the reasons that you find it so...
4THE AUSTRALIAN DIGITAL SKILLS AND SALARY SURVEY 2015Copyright © 2015 Slade Group
How would you rate your senior managemen...
5THE AUSTRALIAN DIGITAL SKILLS AND SALARY SURVEY 2015Copyright © 2015 Slade Group
With the growing importance of digital i...
6THE AUSTRALIAN DIGITAL SKILLS AND SALARY SURVEY 2015Copyright © 2015 Slade Group
70%
thought a digital
skills gap was
tak...
7THE AUSTRALIAN DIGITAL SKILLS AND SALARY SURVEY 2015Copyright © 2015 Slade Group
How do your digital skill sets compare t...
8THE AUSTRALIAN DIGITAL SKILLS AND SALARY SURVEY 2015Copyright © 2015 Slade Group
56% Over half of businesses
surveyed
ant...
9THE AUSTRALIAN DIGITAL SKILLS AND SALARY SURVEY 2015Copyright © 2015 Slade Group
Have you ever, or would you consider hir...
10THE AUSTRALIAN DIGITAL SKILLS AND SALARY SURVEY 2015Copyright © 2015 Slade Group
How important is it to be continually u...
11THE AUSTRALIAN DIGITAL SKILLS AND SALARY SURVEY 2015Copyright © 2015 Slade Group
How do your digital staff currently rec...
12THE AUSTRALIAN DIGITAL SKILLS AND SALARY SURVEY 2015Copyright © 2015 Slade Group
Do your digital staff currently receive...
13THE AUSTRALIAN DIGITAL SKILLS AND SALARY SURVEY 2015Copyright © 2015 Slade Group
During the recruitment process, which o...
14THE AUSTRALIAN DIGITAL SKILLS AND SALARY SURVEY 2015Copyright © 2015 Slade Group
“We prefer to recruit interns from Univ...
15THE AUSTRALIAN DIGITAL SKILLS AND SALARY SURVEY 2015Copyright © 2015 Slade Group
Source: The Australian Digital Skills a...
16THE AUSTRALIAN DIGITAL SKILLS AND SALARY SURVEY 2015Copyright © 2015 Slade Group
Key findings:
25%
Businesses found it d...
17
EXECUTIVE RECRUITMENT
THE AUSTRALIAN DIGITAL SKILLS AND SALARY SURVEY 2015Copyright © 2015 Slade Group
Anita Ziemer
Man...
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The Australian Digital Skills and Salary Survey Report 2015

The Australian Digital Skills and Salary Survey was commissioned by the Slade Group Digital Practice and NET:101 and undertaken by Sweeney Research. The survey was conducted across 150 small to large Australian businesses from a range of sectors.

The survey focused on the current skill-level of digital talent; the acquisition, development and retention of digital employees; and the salary levels in line with responsibilities of digital talent in Australian organisations.

The study reveals: Australia is facing a major digital skills-shortage. In fact Australian employers are under-investing in the skills development of current employees, as well as struggling to find new digital talent. With the growing importance of digital in today’s business landscape, a lag in digital expertise in Australia is a major concern – one that has the potential to hinder the ability for growth and innovation.

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The Australian Digital Skills and Salary Survey Report 2015

  1. 1. THE AUSTRALIAN DIGITAL SKILLS AND SALARY SURVEY 2015 AUSTRALIA IS FACING A MAJOR DIGITAL SKILLS SHORTAGEWith a new study suggesting Australian employers are under-investing in the skills development of current employees, as well as struggling to find new digital talent. THE AUSTRALIAN DIGITAL SKILLS AND SALARY SURVEY 2015 Commissioned by the Slade Group Digital Practice and NET: 101, and undertaken by Sweeney Research, The Australian Digital Skills and Salary Survey was conducted across 150 small to large Australian organisations from a range of sectors. Copyright © 2015 Slade Group
  2. 2. 2THE AUSTRALIAN DIGITAL SKILLS AND SALARY SURVEY 2015Copyright © 2015 Slade Group Australia’s digital communications workforce is riding a phenomenal wave of opportunity; it is young, skilled, highly paid and demand for skills outstrip supply. How many people are employed by your business or organisation? 1. Australian Workforce and Productivity Agency, “ICT Workforce Study – Meeting Australia’s future ICT skills need”, page 1, July 2013 Source: The Australian Digital Skills and Salary Survey, November 2014 Australia is facing a major digital skills shortage. In a new study undertaken with 150 Australian organisations across all sectors and sizes, it is apparent that organisations are under-investing in the skills development of both graduates and mid-career digital professionals. These findings come less than two years after the Australian Workforce Productivity Agency forecast that investment in training and education in the ICT industry, which includes the digital industry, was lagging and in decline1 . A new study commissioned by the Slade Group Digital Practice and Net:101 and undertaken by Sweeney Research, finds Australian organisations are under-resourced when it comes to skilled digital professionals. An astonishing lack of confidence in the digital skills of employees across a diverse range of proficiencies was found, revealing extensive opportunities for investment in specific skills-based assessment and training. Undertaken with 150 small to large organisations, the survey targeted a diverse range of industries Australia-wide. Of the 150 organisations surveyed, 15% of respondents indicated they had between 1,000 to 5,000 or more staff employed within their organisation, with more than half of respondents employing one to 50 staff members.
  3. 3. 3THE AUSTRALIAN DIGITAL SKILLS AND SALARY SURVEY 2015Copyright © 2015 Slade Group What are the reasons that you find it somewhat difficult or very difficult to source digital staff? Source: The Australian Digital Skills and Salary Survey, November 2014 When asked the reasons why respondents found it somewhat difficult or very difficult to source digital staff, a quarter (25%) reported that there was not enough talent available and more than 40% reported that they didn’t have the budgets to compete with high salaries or the funds available for recruitment. Digital Employees When asked to consider the number of digital employees within their organisation, 20% employed over 15 digital professionals, 90% have at least one staff member devoted to digital, and over half (54%) employ up to three full time digital specialists within their marketing teams. Some 10% of companies have no purely digital focused resource on staff.
  4. 4. 4THE AUSTRALIAN DIGITAL SKILLS AND SALARY SURVEY 2015Copyright © 2015 Slade Group How would you rate your senior management’s understanding of the role digital plays in your organisation or business? Source: The Australian Digital Skills and Salary Survey, November 2014 Are older managers limiting future growth? Whilst there wasn’t a correlation available between the age of senior managers and their digital savviness, the survey results raise the question about age and digital know-how. At the top end, 40% of senior managers only had a moderate understanding of the importance of digital skillsets, 20% having little understanding at all. These organisations leave themselves wide-open to being left behind in the digital century. With the growing importance of digital in today’s business landscape, this is a major concern and one that has the potential to hinder the ability for growth and innovation as leading companies digitise more business practices and processes.  It appears that although more than 70% of senior managers have been described as astute or very astute regarding their understanding of the role digital plays in their organisation, senior leaders have yet to translate this importance into an investment in training and development to up- skill and cross-skill.
  5. 5. 5THE AUSTRALIAN DIGITAL SKILLS AND SALARY SURVEY 2015Copyright © 2015 Slade Group With the growing importance of digital in today’s business landscape, a lag in digital expertise in Australia is a major concern. One that has the potential to hinder the ability for growth and innovation. Whilst over two thirds of respondents said it was critical that new employees were able to demonstrate digital expertise, only 12% conducted internal or external testing during recruiting. Source: The Australian Digital Skills and Salary Survey, November 2014 As leading companies digitise more business practices and processes, opportunities for investment in digital specific skill-based assessment and training, as revealed by the study, represent a significant opportunity for external expert contractors to provide high level education to the workforce.
  6. 6. 6THE AUSTRALIAN DIGITAL SKILLS AND SALARY SURVEY 2015Copyright © 2015 Slade Group 70% thought a digital skills gap was taking a moderate or heavy toll on their business. 98% of respondents thought it was important to continually train their digital staff 60% relied on employee feedback and ‘observation’ to identify areas requiring development 80% of managers described staff as being weak in some or most areas of digital communication Source: The Australian Digital Skills and Salary Survey, November 2014 Digital shortage plays to high impact The research focused on the 10 key skills in the standard suite of digital communications: Analytics including Insights, Social Media, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO organic), Search Engine Marketing (Paid Search), Mobile/SMS Marketing, Content Marketing, Email/Direct Digital Marketing, Digital Advertising including Digital Display, Digital Copywriting and Communications, Digital Design and Development. The digital skills gap is causing increasing concern amongst employers, with over 70% of respondents describing the gap as having a heavy or moderate impact on their business. 80% of managers described staff as being weak in some or most areas of digital communication. Optimistically, 80% of businesses have existing up-skilling programs in place and over two thirds are planning further investment in training.
  7. 7. 7THE AUSTRALIAN DIGITAL SKILLS AND SALARY SURVEY 2015Copyright © 2015 Slade Group How do your digital skill sets compare to your direct competitors? Source: The Australian Digital Skills and Salary Survey, November 2014 On Par or Behind the Competition? With 60% of organisations rating themselves as either on par with or behind their competition with regards to digital capability, this presents an opportunity to leverage digital as a key differentiator provided organisations can up-skill appropriately.  Given the skills spectrum from creative to analytical, it was interesting to see that 16% of organisations believe their digital staff hold strong skills across all areas. Equally, it seems that some employees are hired into digital roles without the requisite skills given 10% feel that those employees charged with driving digital communications are weak in most areas of digital.
  8. 8. 8THE AUSTRALIAN DIGITAL SKILLS AND SALARY SURVEY 2015Copyright © 2015 Slade Group 56% Over half of businesses surveyed anticipated hiring more digital resources over the coming 12 months. 2. CNN Money, “Mobile apps overtake PC Internet usage”, 28 February 2014 Source: The Australian Digital Skills and Salary Survey, November 2014 The Lag Factor Whilst 2014 was the year when mobile devices overtook PCs for the first time2 , this trend seems to have escaped senior managers in many Australian organisations. This worrying feedback is based on the results showing that only 8% of organisations feel they are ahead of their competitors when it comes to Mobile/SMS marketing skills compared to 30% who rate themselves ahead of competitors when it comes to social media skills. Awareness is one thing but action to address this focus and skills shortfall has yet to catch up with the market trends. It is possible that managers are targeting training investment towards the wrong areas. The opportunities within mobile and SMS marketing seem to have escaped the notice of senior managers in many Australian businesses. The key functions that most respondents believe need addressing in order to be ahead of the competition are content, email/display, and social media. This represents a significant opportunity for external expert contractors to provide high level education to the work force. Social Media, Content Marketing, and Digital Design and Development are areas that can expect to see the most demand for training in the future. Catch up Across all sectors, organisations recognise the importance that digital plays within their business, with over half (56%) anticipating hiring additional digital resources over the next 12 months. 
  9. 9. 9THE AUSTRALIAN DIGITAL SKILLS AND SALARY SURVEY 2015Copyright © 2015 Slade Group Have you ever, or would you consider hiring an international digital candidate instead of an Australian candidate even if it meant paying more to sponsor and relocate them? Source: The Australian Digital Skills and Salary Survey, November 2014 One third of respondents outlined frustration searching for candidates with desired skill sets. As a result, businesses are looking at hiring skilled staff from overseas and a surprising 30% of organisations have already tried sponsorship of overseas talent and would do so again.
  10. 10. 10THE AUSTRALIAN DIGITAL SKILLS AND SALARY SURVEY 2015Copyright © 2015 Slade Group How important is it to be continually up-skilling the digital staff in your business or organisation? The survey forecasts a strong investment period in up-skilling the capabilities of existing employees within the workplace, with over 98% of respondents stressing the importance of continuous training. Source: The Australian Digital Skills and Salary Survey, November 2014
  11. 11. 11THE AUSTRALIAN DIGITAL SKILLS AND SALARY SURVEY 2015Copyright © 2015 Slade Group How do your digital staff currently receive their ongoing training? Source: The Australian Digital Skills and Salary Survey, November 2014 Once again, the question of whether or not they are investing in the right areas becomes evident. While most respondents viewed themselves as lacking mobile skills in relation to the competition, the mobile function is set to receive the least level of investment from those planning to increase their digital spend over the next 12 months. 
  12. 12. 12THE AUSTRALIAN DIGITAL SKILLS AND SALARY SURVEY 2015Copyright © 2015 Slade Group Do your digital staff currently receive ongoing training? Source: The Australian Digital Skills and Salary Survey, November 2014 Assessment Tools a Stab in the Dark Whilst there is a strong desire for increased investment in training of existing employees, with more than 80% advising their digital staff receive ongoing training, there is an apparent lack of formal skills testing. 60-67% of organisations rely on employee feedback and ‘observation’ to identify areas requiring development. The lack of formal assessment indicates a gap between the understood and actual assessment of digital skill levels in the workplace, and may go some way to answering the question of why investment in training may be going to the wrong areas. This presents a major opportunity for investment in formal skills testing techniques to isolate key areas in need of attention.
  13. 13. 13THE AUSTRALIAN DIGITAL SKILLS AND SALARY SURVEY 2015Copyright © 2015 Slade Group During the recruitment process, which of the following do you use to assess the competencies of digital job applicants? Unlike accounting where a graduate can or can’t carry a trial balance, there appears to be a large grey area when it comes to assessing digital skills. Whilst over two thirds of respondents said that it was critical that new employees were able to demonstrate digital competence only 12% actually use a formal internal or external assessment at point of hire or in the performance review process.
  14. 14. 14THE AUSTRALIAN DIGITAL SKILLS AND SALARY SURVEY 2015Copyright © 2015 Slade Group “We prefer to recruit interns from University and groom them on our systems, methodology etc. We also provide staff training internally by coaching all staff - as well as some mentoring for senior execs by USA based experts. Australia seems to lag behind the USA and UK.” Only 9% thought recent university graduates were equipped to undertake digital role requirements. Train My Own Have schools and universities caught up with the demand side for digital professionals? Demand is fast exceeding supply, as lack of talent, over priced talent and competitive pressure are hurting organisations. Furthermore, there is a serious lack of faith in the competencies of recent university graduates, with only 9% of respondents agreeing with the statement that recent graduates are equipped to undertake digital role requirements. Businesses now have to take responsibility for the quality of the training of their digital staff. A disconnect between future requirements and skills banking is evident; 26% of respondents relying on staff ‘self-learning’, providing no further digital training to employees. Current neglect of staff training represents a major opportunity for investment into digital education Australia wide. Whilst some employers prefer to train staff from the bottom up, there is a lack of willingness to invest in the skills of existing staff, and Australia is suffering as a result. The testimony of one respondent sheds light on the importance of continued staff education and the sub-par status Australia is taking in the digital space.
  15. 15. 15THE AUSTRALIAN DIGITAL SKILLS AND SALARY SURVEY 2015Copyright © 2015 Slade Group Source: The Australian Digital Skills and Salary Survey, November 2014 Matching Salary Expectations With the rise of the so called ‘internet of things’ and mobile being the key connector for most of these devices and products, its importance as a channel is expected to grow exponentially over the coming years. Arguably, organisations should therefore be increasing their investment in this space now in order to get on the front foot and stay ahead of the competition. One way of doing that is ensuring the appropriate level of remuneration is considered. When asked to indicate salary preferences, over 50% of respondents were willing to pay (excluding Superannuation) between $100,000 – $199,999 to hire a Digital Marketing Manager and Head of Digital/Digital Manager and 40% were willing to remunerate their candidate with a similar level of pay for a Digital Communications Manager highlighting the demand for the appropriate skill level in digital communications. Arguably, hands-on technical roles such as Digital Designer and Digital Developer should be higher; respondents were less willing to pay top dollar, with only 20% opting for these higher salaries ($100,000 – $199,999) to source the skilled talent, the remainder wishing to pay less than $99,999. When asked respondent’s willingness to remunerate data-driven and analytical digital roles, they opted between $100,000 – $199,999 based on the data-driven environments we are now operating in. These statistics support the notion that clients are willing to pay more for the skills they lack, indicating that key talent in these fields are in high demand.
  16. 16. 16THE AUSTRALIAN DIGITAL SKILLS AND SALARY SURVEY 2015Copyright © 2015 Slade Group Key findings: 25% Businesses found it difficult to source digital employees because they thought not enough talent was available 22% they could not compete with high salaries offered elsewhere 18% they lacked the expertise to find the right candidate Source: The Australian Digital Skills and Salary Survey, November 2014 The majority of comments that emerged from the survey focused on the urgent need for increased staff training, however the skills gap is magnified by the inability of businesses to source the talent they need from the labor pool. High competition for good digital managers has seen 22% of respondents record that they unable to compete with the cash incentives of larger companies and were missing out on talent as a result. A quarter (25%) believe there is not enough experience and skill in the market, and 18% feel they are not equipped with the expertise to find the right candidate. Australian organisations should heed these figures; there is an opportunity for talent finders.
  17. 17. 17 EXECUTIVE RECRUITMENT THE AUSTRALIAN DIGITAL SKILLS AND SALARY SURVEY 2015Copyright © 2015 Slade Group Anita Ziemer Managing Director Slade Group 03 9235 5100 aziemer@sladegroup.com.au Tim Martin Founder & Executive Trainer Net:101 1300 946 101 tim@net101.com.au For further information contact

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