Editorial Notes

Digital bosses hold the key in corporate world: The Nation

Office workers are pictured through building windows during dusk in Tokyo, on March 3, 2015.
Office workers are pictured through building windows during dusk in Tokyo, on March 3, 2015.PHOTO: REUTERS

In its editorial on July 24, the paper notes the rise of digital literacy as a key skill in the job market.

BANGKOK (THE NATION/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Few things can make the "presence" of the new generation more obvious than the job market.

"Digital" may be a word associated with everyone at the moment, but there is a big difference between "knowing it" and "being able to do it".

Industries are wanting the latter, meaning that career beginning, breakthrough and progress require deep digital knowledge and skills, something the older generation finds too late to possess.

According to a reliable survey, more than one-third of the largest companies in the United Kingdom now employ at least one digital executive each. People holding the position are given an exclusive task to pull a competitive advantage from digital development. The rate of high-level digital embrace is said to be much higher than the global average of 19 per cent.

The gap, however, is expected to narrow in the near future as more and more companies outside the UK start to fill top positions with people not just with great digital vision but also with application.

In other words, those who can actually "apply" the technologies may have an advantage over those who have only vision. After all, it is believed that only those who actively use the technologies will be able to really tell the direction of their developments. This is what gives the new generation a major advantage in the labour landscape.

Top digital positions in companies are not being limited to telecom, social media or financial firms. There is an increasing awareness that every single product and service can be helped immensely in terms of costs and marketing if those involved are well-versed in digital advancement.

In France, 62 per cent of companies reportedly have a digital leader. In Germany, it is 39 per cent.

According to experts, the world is about to see a tipping point, where the term "digital" shifts from "projects" or "experiments" to a main strategic business imperative, regardless of what an industry produces or offers.

To stay competitive, companies must become "digital natives", meaning executives and employees must be aware that production, marketing and overall operation platforms are assisted, not deterred, by the latest innovations.

The digital revolution is keeping every business institution on its toes. Banking, for example, is looking at how ATMs can be revamped, although it was only recently that the machines replaced bank employees in many areas.

Fifty years after Barclays installed the world's first ATM in a north London suburb, the British bank and several of its big US competitors are considering the cash machines old-fashioned and are attempting to figure out what they can do more to serve customers and save costs in the process. One key factor pushing the banks is the fast evolution of smartphones.

Media and advertising agencies are other examples. Reporters who can present reports through Facebook Live may get ahead of others on the career path. Publicists who know how to utilise social media and can really do it themselves will be on a fast track to the top.

We will soon see a lot of younger business executives. Older business leaders will still be there, but decision-making powers will shift significantly to the new generation.

The "old wave, new wave" phenomenon has always marked business transitions in the past, but the digital revolution is making things move faster.

The rate at which employment is changing, with "digital knowledge" increasingly a requirement in job advertisements, may make a lot of parents think twice before reprimanding their children for spending too much time on video games, computers or mobile phones.

The Nation is a member of The Straits Times media partner Asia News Network, an alliance of 22 news media entities.