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The Nash Squared Digital Leadership Survey. How do you compare?

A world of disruption.

Almost nine in ten digital leaders believe that major global change is happening faster than ever.

Where once disruption might have been a term reserved for new entrants in the market or a competitor’s new products, it now comes from all directions including geopolitics, supply chains and ‘the great resignation’.

As the world grows more interconnected, one region can have direct implications for other geographies.

  • 88% believe major change is happening faster than ever.

  • 88% are concerned by economic disruption.

  • 63% are concerned by supply chain issues.

Budgets drop, but remain high.

Digital leaders are facing economic pressure, those expecting budget growth has dropped from six in ten to just over half.

That said, this remains the third highest reading in the 17 years we have been measuring it.

When it comes to the economy, technology has a role to play both when the sun shines, and when the clouds gather.

  • 52% expect tech budget increases.

  • Top 3 aims include: operational efficiency, customer experience, new products.

Cybercrime increases.

Managing cybersecurity has never been more challenging.

The increased use of the cloud and global unrest have led to 40% of our respondents fearing an attack from foreign powers – over three times what it was in 2018.

Overall, major cyberattacks have jumped by almost a fifth in the last 12 months, and only around a third of organisations consider themselves ‘very well’ positioned to deal with the challenge.

  • 40% fear attacks from foreign powers.

  • 28% have been attacked in the last 2 years.

  • 51% of large organisations have been attacked in the last 2 years.

Skills shortages.

There is no let-up in the war for talent.

Up to 70% of this year’s digital leaders state that a skills shortage prevents them from keeping up with the pace of change; the highest we have seen since we started reporting 24 years ago.

Six in ten feel the rising cost of living has made salary demands unsustainable.

However it isn’t all doom and gloom, remote working has enabled a quarter of organisations to start recruiting talent from overseas.

The market for talent is now global.

  • 70% suffering major skills shortage.

  • 58% planning to grow tech team.

  • 62% feel they will never have enough tech staff.

Spend on emerging tech dips.

Tech spend on cloud remains strong, but it has slowed in emerging tech like artificial intelligence (AI), automation and big data, threatening opportunities to innovate through global economic instability.

Although almost two-thirds of digital leaders think that big data and analytics will be in the top 2 technologies to deliver competitive advantage in the next year, only a fifth feel that they are effective at using data insights to generate more revenue.


  • 64% see big data as a competitive advantage.

  • 21% are realising revenue from data.

  • Implementations have shrunk by 10%.

Is remote working, working?

During the depth of the pandemic, technology that enabled remote working kept many organisations alive.

But is the honeymoon period over?

Work-life balance remains a key positive of hybrid working, but productivity has dropped significantly this year.

Many organisations are thinking very carefully about how they support their employees as they move into a hybrid working model, and many are targeting wellbeing and mental health, with some success.


  • 53% have their staff in the office 2-3 times a week.

  • 40% feel collaboration has declined.

Gender diversity, good news.

At last, some positive news in gender diversity – almost a quarter of the tech team is now female, and the pipeline is improving, with 28% of new hires being female.

Female digital leader respondents to our survey are now at the highest level there has ever been, but the figure is still low (14%), and the overall pace of change in female participation is slow.


  • 28% of new hires are female.

  • 14% of digital leaders are female.

Making difficult choices.

It’s never been easy being a digital leader.

The challenge for many is to balance what’s urgent and what’s important, and for many, dealing with cloud, cyber and resourcing is enough to be getting on with.

But what this research shows over its 24 years of running, is that the really successful digital leaders look beyond what is immediately in front of them.

While cloud will keep you alive today, it is data, innovation and diversity that will help you flourish in the future.

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