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UK tech leaders climb in C-suite rank, KPMG/Harvey Nash reveal

UK tech leaders climb in C-suite rank, KPMG/Harvey Nash

Lisa Heneghan, Chief Digital Officer at KPMG UK , comments on UK tech leaders climb in C-suite rank, KPMG/Harvey Nash reveal.


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  • Over half of UK CIOs (54%) report budget increases
  • AI/automation expected to replace up to 1 in 5 jobs by 2024
  • The UK is ahead of global average in large-scale cloud adoption

UK Chief Information Officers (CIOs) are gaining more strategic influence in organisations, while more (54%, up from 49% last year), are seeing budget increases than at any other time in the last 15 years as business and ‘digital’ strategies converge, according to the world’s largest technology leadership survey by KPMG and Harvey Nash.

The latest analysis, which examines responses from more than 900 senior technology leaders in the UK, also reveals that CIOs are likely to become even more vital in the near future with 42% of organisations expecting to change their product/service offering or business model fundamentally in the next three years. Changing staffing requirements are also expected to prompt further prioritisation of tech leadership as 90% of those surveyed expect AI/automation to replace up to 1 in 5 jobs, or more, within five years, although two-thirds (67%) believe the number of jobs created will compensate for those lost.

Lisa Heneghan, Chief Digital Officer at KPMG in the UK said:

“In today’s digital age, there are very few strategic business improvements that can be made without underpinning technology change, therefore it is no surprise to see CIO’s budgets, responsibilities and impact, rise. In turn this is driving greater integration of IT and Business functions.”

Six out of 10 UK organisations said less than 30% of their tech team staff were female, while the survey also highlighted a stagnation in the levels of gender diversity in IT leaders across the globe in recent years (12% in 2019 and 2018, 10% in 2017 and 11% in 2015).

“Technology is often seen as a threat in the job market but those in charge are leading with a more optimistic take, with two-thirds of CIOs confident about the positive impact automation will have on the workplace. In addition to opportunities for digital transformation, there is clear room to improve the gender-mix in IT roles and to do this a requirement for more effective diversity and inclusion initiatives in the industry,” concluded Heneghan.

The UK is seven percentage points ahead of the global average in large-scale cloud adoption (51% to 44% respectively), as the research found over half of UK IT organisations have undertaken significant cloud transformations.

Also, nine in 10 CIOs said they are more confident about increasing their use of cloud technologies today than at any point in the last three years. Although cloud is secure as a technology, the migration of data, increased exposure to the public network and often misconfigured cloud infrastructure, may leave organisations vulnerable to different methods of attack. Regardless,¬ the majority of CIOs feel well positioned to identify and deal with probable cyber-attacks. Only 9% reported that they are insufficiently ‘exposed to a cyber-attack in multiple areas’.

Phil Crozier, Head of CIO Advisory at KPMG, said:

“The UK has been witness to significant technological change in the year since our last CIO report, including the recent announcement of the nation’s first NHS AI lab.

“As the risks of cyber security, data privacy and regulation grow, CIOs are being charged with balancing risks alongside the huge wave of transformative opportunities that come with investments into platforms such as cloud and disruptive technologies such as AI, now both crucial elements in a CIO’s digital strategy.

“While innovation is important, they need to be sure to have the right management and controls in place around these changes.”



For media enquiries, please contact:

Jennifer Ogunleye, Corporate Communications, KPMG UK
T: +44 (0)77341 887 015 


KPMG Press Office:

T: +44 (0)207 694 8773


About the Survey:

In its 21st year, the 2019 Harvey Nash/KPMG CIO Survey is the largest IT leadership survey in the world in terms of number of respondents. The survey of 3,645 CIOs and technology leaders was conducted between 13th December 2018 and 4th April 2019, across 108 countries.

The UK perspective on the 2019 Harvey Nash/KPMG CIO Survey explores the sentiment of 927 senior technology leaders, offering an excellent insight into the key challenges and priorities currently facing KPMG clients.

About KPMG:

KPMG LLP, a UK limited liability partnership, operates from 22 offices across the UK with approximately 16,300 partners and staff. The UK firm recorded a revenue of £2.338 billion in the year ended 30 September 2018. KPMG is a global network of professional firms providing Audit, Tax, and Advisory services. It operates in 154 countries and has 200,000 professionals 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.

© 2021 KPMG LLP a UK limited liability partnership and a member firm of the KPMG global organisation of independent member firms affiliated with KPMG International Limited, a private English company limited by guarantee. All rights reserved.

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