Demand for digital skills accelerated during pandemic

One in three workers in Ireland have low or no digital skills
(Image: Stockfresh)

7 July 2021

Demand for a ‘digitally proficient’ workforce in sales and marketing is expected to grow significantly in Ireland in the coming years, according to a new report published by Salesforce in partnership with IDC. The report highlights the scale of the growing demand for digital skills in Ireland and the UK, which is now being experienced in practically every industry sector.

It estimated that, by 2025, Ireland will benefit from 7,300 new direct jobs in what they have dubbed the ‘Salesforce economy’ – the impact of Salesforce and its ecosystem of partners and customers. While many of these will be in technical roles that require specialist skills, many others, including those in sales and marketing, HR, and finance, will require enhanced levels of digital proficiency. 

As the Irish economy looks to post-pandemic recovery in a new, digital-first world, the changing nature of jobs poses challenges for workers in every industry. According to IDC, one in three workers in Ireland have low or no digital skills. By 2030, nine out of 10 workers will need to learn new skills to do their jobs.




Covid-19 has accelerated the digital transformation of all aspects of our society, and businesses have had to pivot to serve customers online. By next year, nearly two-thirds (65%) of global GDP will be driven by digitised products and services. This need to go digital-first is felt by 89% of CEOs who say they are under increased pressure to digitally transform their business due to the pandemic.

The area of technical CRM skills is already experiencing particularly high demand in Ireland. IDC found that there are currently 9,400 job openings in Ireland requiring CRM skills, with at least 1,800 of these requiring specific Salesforce skills.

IDC found that half of marketing, sales and customer service workers in Ireland have a CRM proficiency. This places Ireland significantly ahead of parts of the UK such as Greater London (39%), Scotland (17%) and Wales (11%).

Salesforce has seen a 50% increase in Trailhead users learning skills for marketing-based roles in the past year. Trailhead, its free online learning platform, democratises digital learning by taking participants from a low-level of technical knowledge to a Salesforce role in as little as six months.

The IDC Infobrief report highlights the significant opportunities for digital transformation of Ireland’s economy and workforce, but true recovery will require investment from government and business. The report identifies ICT and non-ICT professionals as key target groups for upskilling and reskilling but also points to tackling Ireland’s growing unemployed population with support.

“The accelerated shift to digital is having a major impact on the jobs we do and the skills we need for a resilient and prosperous future,” said Zahra Bahrololoumi, UK & Ireland CEO, Salesforce. “Speaking from my own experience, a lack of formal digital education is not a barrier to career success in that future. Digital skills are much quicker and easier to gain than many people realise. This new IDC report clearly captures the need, and opportunity, for business and government to step up and partner on dynamic programs that drive a life-long love of digital learning and engage everyone. By upskilling and reskilling across our society we will unlock greater potential for productivity, innovation and happiness.”

Marianne Kolding, vice president, European Skills Research at IDC, said, “The lack of IT and digital skills is impacting organisations across all business measurements, such as revenue growth and delays in rolling out new products and services. According to our research, on average organisations are seeing a delay of 8.1 months in their digital transformation efforts – and that’s costly. IDC estimates that by 2024, this will result in lost revenues of around €233 billion annually for European organisations. This is an issue that needs to be addressed.”

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