The Power Of Talent

Despite increased investment in tech - 72 per cent of Japan's CIOs are struggling to keep up with the pace of digital innovation, according to Harvey Nash/KPMG CIO Survey 2016

CIOs in Japan face the greatest tech skills shortage since the 2008 GFC as concerns about cyber attacks continue to grow. However, Japan's CIOs are amongst the most content in the world.

JAPAN - OCT 3, 2016 - The pace of digital innovation and change is dominating the agenda of technology leaders, but according to the world's largest IT survey, a staggering 72 percent of Japan CIOs are struggling to keep up. The 2016 Harvey Nash / KPMG CIO survey revealed that technology leaders in Japan are suffering from a major innovation gap and are lagging behind global counterparts as a result.

Despite 42 per cent of Japan CIOs gaining increased budgets over the last 12 months, over three-quarters (76 per cent) say they believe a lack of talent will prevent their organisation from keeping up with the pace of change, 11 per cent more than the global average and 7 per cent more than the APAC average. Japan's CIOs are the most concerned with skills gaps globally. The proportion of Japan CIOs who plan to increase their technology headcount stands at 36 per cent, 8 per cent less than the global average at 44 per cent and 11 per cent less than the APAC average at 47 per cent, which may go some way to explain the concern as the competition for talent increases.

In line with the global results, data analytics is the most in-demand skill in Japan, followed by project management, with business analysis and IT strategy joint third.  The biggest jump in skill demand year on year is digital, up 21 per cent, followed by security, up 17 per cent.  Companies most crave the newer digital and IT strategy skills, according to the survey.

Japanese based CIOs are also facing more cyberattacks than their global counterparts, with 30 per cent of CIOs in Japan having to respond to a major IT security or cyber-attack in the last two years, versus 28 per cent globally. Only 11 per cent of CIOs in Japan feel confident their organisation is well prepared to identify and respond to cyberattacks, far less than the global average of 22 per cent.
In spite of these challenges, CIOs in Japan are amongst the most content in the world with 76 per cent reporting that they find their current role fulfilling.

"This year's Harvey Nash / KPMG CIO Survey reveals that Japan's CIOs are being severely hindered by the greatest technology skills shortage since the global financial crisis" said George Johnson, Managing Director, Harvey Nash Japan. "With 39 per cent of Japan's CIOs expecting to increase their budget in the next 12 months, there is strong investment in tech, but the key issue is where companies now turn to find the right talent. From grappling with an increasing cyber security threat, promoting the diversity of teams, to bridging the digital innovation gap, Japan's CIOs are dealing with a more varied range of challenges than ever before, many of which are dramatically removed from the realms of traditional IT."

"The role of the CIO in Japan is becoming increasingly focused on innovation and digital strategy," said Bob Hayward, Head, Asia Pacific CIO Advisory Centre of Excellence, KPMG. "CIOs are no longer solely concerned with delivering the right technology to enable the enterprise, rather they are now the key agent of change for moving enterprises forward. This survey confirms that now more than ever before, IT leaders must be strategic partners with the CEO."  
Now in its 18th year, the Harvey Nash/KPMG CIO Survey is the largest IT leadership survey in the world, this year's results offer fascinating insight into the issues faced by Japan's CIOs. 

The role of the CIO has never been more relevant or influential.  More CIOs globally report directly to the CEO (34 per cent) than at any time in the past decade, rising 10 per cent over last year - this statistic is reflected exactly in Japan with 34 per cent reporting to the CEO or MD. The survey also highlights how CIO priorities continue to shift, revealing the vast majority (63 per cent globally / 71 per cent in Japan) of Japan's CEOs now prioritise IT projects that make money, compared to save money (37 per cent globally / 29 per cent in Japan), enabling CIOs to be more creative and increase their influence.

Other key Japan findings include: 

The rise of digital continues - but Japan lags behind
Only 33 per cent of CIOs in Japan have an enterprise-wide digital strategy (below the global average of 35 per cent), and 15 per cent don't have a digital strategy at all
Japan lags behind global counterparts in digital focus with only 17 per cent of organisations having a CDO or digital lead (compared to the global average of 19%)
The vast majority of IT leaders in Japan (72 per cent) report to being held back on innovation due to a lack of resources or funding, compared to 59 per cent globally

Life of a CIO in Japan 
More than a third of CIOs in Japan (37 per cent) have survived the trials of IT leadership and have been with their current employers for a decade or more, compared to 21 per cent globally
38 per cent of CIOs in Japan are a member of the executive team or board
Just over a third (32 per cent) of Japan's CIOs received a pay rise in the last year, 9 per cent behind the APAC average 
39 per cent of CIOs in Japan earn more than USD200,000 a year, similar to the APAC region (40 per cent). The average salary of a CIO in Japan is between $200,000-219,000.

For more information about the survey and to request a full copy of the results, please visit or email


About the Survey
The 2016 Harvey Nash/KPMG CIO Survey is the largest IT leadership survey in the world in terms of number of respondents. The survey of 3,352 CIOs and technology leaders was conducted between December 12, 2015 and April 10, 2016, across 82 countries. 

About Harvey Nash
Harvey Nash has helped over half the world's leading companies recruit, source and manage the highly skilled talent they need to succeed in an increasingly competitive, global and technology driven world. With over 7,000 experts in more than 40 offices across Europe, Asia and the USA, we have the reach and resources of a global organisation, whilst fostering a culture of innovation and agility that empowers our people across the world to respond to constantly changing client needs. We work with clients, both large and small, to deliver a portfolio of services: executive search, professional recruitment and IT outsourcing.

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About KPMG

KPMG is a global network of professional firms providing Audit, Tax and Advisory services. We operate in 155 countries and have more than 174,000 people working in member firms around the world. The independent member firms of the KPMG network are affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative ("KPMG International"), a Swiss entity. Each KPMG firm is a legally distinct and separate entity and describes itself as such.

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Media contacts:
Sophie Gray and Muns Ip
Harvey Nash
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Hironori Suzuki
KPMG Consulting Co., Ltd.
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