First Digital Skills Study Highlights Ireland’s Alarming Skills Shortage

Ireland’s very first Digital Skills Study is an alarming read. While Dublin may be considered the Silicon Valley of Europe, it seems we are coming bottom of the class when it comes to digital skills.
The report below compiled by Digital Marketing Institute, shows that just one in five people working in the marketing profession has even entry level digital marketing competency and if the deficiency is not addressed, the country will not achieve the 150,000 jobs which could potentially be created in the digital economy by 2020.
The study also found that 83% of workers with a marketing remit failed to achieve a pass, or 60% in its professional diploma in digital marketing. Overall it found those who took the test scored 34% lower than international counterparts.
Digital Training Institute Managing Director and Masters Student at Digital Marketing Institute, Joanne Sweeney Burke says, “In my experience the level of digital marketing knowledge is low among SMEs, community and voluntary sector and indeed among marketing & PR graduates. I commonly hear ‘yeah I’m on Facebook and Twitter’ but the real commercial and analytical knowledge of how digital can be use for business is seriously lacking. I welcome this report from Digital Marketing Institute as it highlights the educational and industry gaps in what is a lucrative industry. I think employers need to invest in staff training while marketers need to look at their own skills.”


dmi_threat_inforgraph_white-300x143Source: Digital Marketing Institute.

How would you rate your digital marketing skills? You’d at least pass, right? We assessed the digital skills of 622 marketers (380 in Ireland) using a digital diagnostic tool that contained 54 questions across the core disciplines of digital marketing strategy and planning, mobile, search, display, email and social media marketing. An eye-opening 8 out of 10 (83%) people failed to meet entry level competency.

What’s more, Ireland’s digital proficiency was found considerably lacking compared to our international counterparts – when tested Irish marketers scored a shocking 34% lower. With Ireland’s economic recovery dependant on the digitisation of native businesses, what could this mean for our future?

With a predicted 150,000 digital jobs and an internet economy worth €21.1bn by 20202, co-founder and director of the DMI, Ian Dodson, Director and Co-Founder at the Digital Marketing Institute believes that the implications for the Irish economy are significant:

“The digital economy has taken centre stage in Ireland’s economic recovery with the industry creating hundreds of jobs every month. If we can’t provide suitably skilled professionals to fill these positions Ireland could stand to lose its advantage as a European digital hub and as European headquarters for many of the major digital companies. The threat is even more acute as the talent pool grows in emerging economies.”

Find out more by downloading the full Digital Skills Report for free here.

Twitter’s Expert Opinion

Twitter’s Director of Sales (UK and Ireland), Don O’Leary commented on the findings: “Digital marketing has revolutionised the way businesses connect with their target market. If Irish business leaders don’t embrace and invest in this change, they will lose out to international competitors who are turning this opportunity into distinct competitive advantage.”

Ian Dodson speaks to The Independent about the skills shortage. Click here to watch the video.

Further Findings



Senior managers are stalling digital adoption – Entry level marketers performed 26% better than those with over 20 years of experience.

Smaller businesses finding it harder to adapt – Small businesses scored 25% lower than medium-sized counterparts.

Dublin leading the digital race – Dublin’s digital skills are 57% stronger than the rest of the country.

Women stronger than men – women outperformed men by 11%.

What is the Digital Diagnostic?

The Digital Diagnostic is the industry’s first digital marketing skills assessment based on real industry knowledge. Here at the Digital Marketing Institute we were itching to quantify the digital skills of marketing professionals both in Ireland and all over the world. And we built a tool that does just that. Want to find out how your digital knowledge compares to the rest of the country? Test your own digital skills for free.

Great. What’s in the Full Report?




Loads more statistics and analysis of Ireland’s digital skills gaps… The full Digital Skills Report contains a breakdown of digital marketing skills by industry, location, years of marketing experience, company size, location, gender and specialism. Find out how the hospitality and leisure sector compares to the food and beverage industry and where Ireland’s strongest digital skillset lies (here’s a clue: it’s in your hands).

We hope you enjoy reading our digital skills study filled with facts, statistics and findings on the future of Ireland’s digital economy.

Download the free Digital Skills Report for the full story.

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