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Future of Work

New Digital Skills Index from Salesforce Reveals 76% of Global Workers Say They Are Unequipped for the Future of Work

digital worker

  • Over three-quarters of respondents do not feel ready to operate in a digital-first world, but only 28% are actively involved in digital skills learning and training
  • There is a major gap emerging between everyday digital skills and those needed for work, especially among younger workers
  • Using collaboration technologies is viewed as the most important digital workplace skill for workers over the next five years

San Francisco, January 27, 2022 – Salesforce, the global leader in CRM, today published its new Global Digital Skills Index, revealing a growing global digital skills crisis and an urgent need for action. The Salesforce Index is based on over 23,000 workers in 19 countries reporting their readiness to acquire key digital skills.

Nearly three-quarters of respondents (73%) don’t feel equipped to learn the digital skills needed by businesses now and even more (76%) don’t feel equipped for the future. Despite 82% of survey respondents planning to learn new skills in the next five years, only 28% are actively involved in digital skills learning and training programs now. 

The global digital skills gap

This gap is a concern – but it also presents an opportunity. With companies around the world rapidly transitioning to digital-first models, the demand for employees with digital skills has soared. 

The Salesforce Index’s overall global score for digital readiness, assessed in terms of preparedness, skill level, access, and active participation in digital upskilling, is currently only 33 out of 100. The countries represented in the survey ranged from scores of 63 to 15, highlighting that while certain countries feel more digitally ready than others, there is an urgent need for global investment to close the digital skills gap and build a more inclusive workforce.

Everyday digital skills don’t translate to the workplace

Everyday skills such as social media and web navigation don’t necessarily translate to the core workplace digital skills needed by business to drive recovery, resilience, and growth.

More than two thirds of all Gen Z respondents (64%) say they have advanced social media skills — supporting the stereotype of digital mastery among the younger generation — but less than a third (31%) believe they have the advanced digital workplace skills needed by businesses now.

Generational skills gap

However, the Salesforce Index also reveals that younger respondents have the greatest confidence and ambition to learn new skills — over one-third of Gen Z is actively learning and training for skills needed over the next five years compared to 12% of Baby Boomers. 

The most important digital skills needed by businesses today

According to the Salesforce Index, skills in collaboration technology are viewed as the most important digital workplace skill for workers today and over the next five years. But despite respondents’ prowess with everyday collaboration technology like social media, only 25% rate themselves advanced in those collaboration technology skills needed specifically for the workplace.

Business has a critical role to play

Now more than ever, businesses have a responsibility to act to address the growing global skills gap. Salesforce is committed to investing in the future workforce through its diverse set of workforce development programs, including:

  • Trailblazer Community, a global network of 15 million people across the Salesforce ecosystem who help each other learn new skills and succeed with Salesforce. 
  • Trailhead, Salesforce’s free online learning platform which has helped more than 3.9 million people skill up for the future of work.
  • Pathfinder Training Program, a workforce development program that prepares individuals with the technical, business, and soft skills needed to pursue a career in the Salesforce ecosystem.
  • Salesforce Military, which offers free online training classes and certification exams at no cost for active-duty military, veterans, and military spouses. Salesforce also connects participants with potential employers.
  • Salesforce Talent Alliance, an initiative that connects Salesforce partner companies to job candidates trained on Salesforce through Trailhead and brings new talent into the fast-growing ecosystem.
  • Trailblazer Connect, which helps people connect to mentorship and career opportunities through events and online resources.

Comments on the news

“There’s a gap between the frontier of innovation and the skills necessary to use those innovations,” said Peter Schwartz, SVP, Strategic Planning and Chief Futures Officer, Salesforce. “That in itself, is not new. But what is new, is the scope of that innovation, how widespread it is, how it has diffused in every aspect of life. It is hard to do almost anything these days without some form of digital interaction.”

“At Salesforce, we’ve made it our mission to empower anyone to learn and harness the digital-first skills needed for the jobs of today and tomorrow,” said Kris Lande, SVP, Marketing & Community, Salesforce. “We are building critical pathways to the new economy by enabling anyone to build a dynamic career, company, and community with Salesforce.”

More information: 


About Salesforce

Salesforce, the global CRM leader, empowers companies of every size and industry to digitally transform and create a 360° view of their customers. For more information about Salesforce (NYSE: CRM), visit: www.salesforce.com.

Any unreleased services or features referenced in this or other press releases or public statements are not currently available and may not be delivered on time or at all. Customers who purchase Salesforce applications should make their purchase decisions based upon features that are currently available. Salesforce has headquarters in San Francisco, with offices in Europe and Asia, and trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol "CRM." For more information please visit https://www.salesforce.com, or call 1-800-NO-SOFTWARE.

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