According to the latest Digital IQ report by PriceWaterhouseCoopers Canada (PwC) released yesterday, Canadian executives are falling behind globally when in comes to proactively advancing the digital transformation of their companies.

While the survey shows that most Canadian execs do say they are proud of their digital strategy, 27 per cent of them say that a lack of skilled teams is their main obstacle in successful digital initiatives. It’s this “say-do” gap that the Digital IQ survey says Canadian companies need to close, and that to do this they should be putting much more emphasis on upskilling their current workforces on new and emerging technologies.

But with only 27 per cent of Canadian respondents saying that their organizations train employees in new technology (versus 37 per cent globally), and the fact that Canadian executives are less likely than their global counterparts to list emerging technologies such as  artificial intelligence (AI), user experience (UX) and cybersecurity as important digital skills, Canadian companies are missing out. In fact, PwC’s 22nd Global CEO Survey showed that Canadian executives believe they can hire their way out of the skills gap, instead of training up their existing staff.

Currently, the Digital IQ report shows that when it comes to technologies, Canadian companies are too concerned on improving operations and cost-cutting with “mature technologies” such as Internet of Things (IoT), with 92 per cent citing it as a priority tech spend compared to 72 per cent globally. Comparatively, 54 per cent of global execs responded citing AI (which is viewed as a tech to help stay ahead of disruption) as a focus with Canadians at 45 per cent. By adopting an always-on learning approach, the report says, upskilling employees in key areas of digital innovation will lead to greater revenue opportunities and new business models that will require more nimble and responsive teams.

“Upskilling and creating a solid employee experience will result in a larger and more diverse workforce,” says Nadir Hirji, digital services leader, strategy and partner, PwC Canada. “They must invest and train employees on new tech, regardless of their position or seniority.”

Read the full report here.

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