Hospitality and leisure businesses are among the strongest adopters of digital marketing (46 per cent), driven by the prevalence of online reviews within the tourism industry, according to new research.
The Irish Digital Skills report, conducted by the Digital Marketing Institute, found the hospitality and leisure, and finance sectors have the most digitally savvy professionals outside of the marketing and technology sectors.
In the retail sector, online revenues are growing at more than 20 times the rate of traditional high street retail business, but digital skills are not keeping pace.
The study reveals that marketing professionals in the retail sector scored only 36 per cent in the digital skills assessment, lower than agriculture (38 per cent) and public sector (37 per cent).
The report found millennials and women are leading the way in terms of digital marketing skills. However, while the digital native millennial generation who are just beginning their careers demonstrate higher levels of digital skills (outscoring their senior compatriots by 25 per cent), they are still falling behind their international peers, performing 17 per cent lower overall.
It also highlights the gap between skill levels in the capital versus the rest of the country.
With a predicted 150,000 digital jobs and an internet economy worth €21.1 billion by 2020, co-founder and director of the Digital Marketing Institute, Ian Dodson, said the implications for the Irish economy are significant.
“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,” he said.
He said the threat is even more acute as the talent pool grows in emerging economies.
Recent figures from UPC and Amárach show more than 60 per cent (€3.6 billion) of Irish people's online spend is going overseas.