Personal Benchmark Report

The Digital Leadership Report 2023

Welcome to your Personal Benchmark Report

It contains


A snapshot of how your key responses to the Digital Leadership Report (DLR) compare with your peer group.


Further ‘behind the scenes’ data and viewpoints that you will not find in the formal published report.

We hope you find the PBR useful. It’s actually quite a project for us, so whatever your opinion of the PBR (from love to hate), we’d really appreciate your feedback.

The Digital Leadership Report Team

Participant overview

Your participant reference:


Your sector:


Your job title:


Your region:


Your Dashboard

Here’s a quick snapshot of some of your key responses and how they compare with your technology leader peer group across the world (over 2,100 to be exact).

Your response
Typical response:
All participants
Typical response:
Your Sector
Your response
Typical response:
All participants
Typical response:
All participants
Tech budget change
Tech  headcount change
Your salary change
COL 10
CEO focus: make or save money?
COL 11
COL 12
Top 3 tech priorities for the board
COL 13
Improving operational efficiency, Developing new products and services, Improving customer experience and accessibility
COL 14

So, that’s the snapshot. Let’s get into the detail…

Budget Caution, but investment remains

PBR Chart 1
PBR Chart 9

Our Question

How do you expect your technology budget to change in the next 12 months?

Your response

Col 15

When you’ve been conducting research in digital leadership for as long as we have (25 years, in case you missed the very large ‘25’ logo we have been publishing seemingly everywhere!), you do get a wonderful wide ranging perspective on things.  

For many, the last year has felt quite a challenge budget wise, and certainly earlier in 2023 it didn’t seem like a day could go by without an announcement from a big tech company on headcount freezes or reductions.  

But with the hat of ‘perspective’ on, the view is a little different. Almost half of digital leaders (45%) are still expecting to grow their budgets, and actually that figure would not have looked out of line with any of the years in the decade previous to the pandemic.

Responses Col 16

Digital leaders who work for CEOs asking them to focus on ‘make money’ tech projects are over one third more likely to be increasing budgets than those where the CEO is asking them to focus on ‘save money’ tech projects.

You can see a sector breakdown of budget growth in the DLR on page 13.

AI - A new wild west?

PBR Chart 21 per cent have a AI policy and 36 per cent do not

Our Question

Do you have an AI/generative AI policy in place for your organisation?

Your response

Col 17


There, we had to say it, so we thought it best to get this out of the way sooner rather than later. After all, in the last 12 months artificial intelligence, in particular Generative AI has become the most talked about topic, with some commentators even suggesting 2023 will be seen as a kind of inflection point for AI.

We may well indeed look back at 2023 in years to come as such a point, but the reality is it will take time for AI to become meaningful – and useful - to enterprises. If you’re expecting big things in 2024, you might be disappointed.

One thing it is right now though is a risk, and the poor use of AI can affect many things – from employees breaching copyright to inadvertently sharing confidential documents or making poor (and in some jurisdictions illegal) judgements on biased data. What’s more, GenAI has been launched onto a largely unprepared audience - almost eight in ten digital leaders have no AI policy in place.

<Col 18>

Digital leaders tell us that the most effective policies come when you are bringing people in tech, data protection and HR together.

Chart 71 per cent say biggest issue facing AI is regulating it

Our Question

What are the most significant concerns with generative AI?

Your response

Col 19

Your response <Col 19>

Regulation is the number 1 concern, followed by issues with data privacy. Regulation is interesting because even though almost nine in ten felt there was a need for more of it, seven in ten of those felt it won’t be effective.

Right now there is a sense this is not a technology that we are in control of. This may become more of an issue in the future as AI becomes more sophisticated, prevalent and – here is the big one – invisible.

At the moment most organisations engaging in AI investments would be able to identify the AI component of that project. Over time it’s likely that AI will become increasingly embedded in cloud apps, help functions, search results, data analytics and used both at a corporate level and individual level. At this point it may be difficult to really point your finger and say ‘that’s the bit that’s AI’.

We asked lots more questions around AI (and thank you so much for answering them). You can read the whole analysis in the main report, on page 24.

Cybercrime down, but new risks ahead?

PBR Chart 4

Our Question

Has your organisation been subjected to any major IT security or cyberattacks in the last two years?

Your response

Col 20

We’ll be honest with you, we weren’t expecting this. If you look at the wider media (and we do– a lot), reports of attacks just seem to go up and up. And yet, listen to our DLR respondents (and, numbering over 2,100, they are a strong voice) you will hear the opposite.

So what’s happening here?

Well, maybe we’re simply getting used to living with cyber risks, and what in the past used to be ‘major’ is now not worth getting the CEO out of bed at the weekend for. It’s also fair to say the responsibility for protecting the organisation has become more diffuse; HR, legal, marketing and all manner of departments outside traditional IT will have their own awareness of the threats and strategies for minimising them.

You are much more likely to have had a major cyberattack if you are a larger company.

Col 21

So what of the future?

Well, digital leaders tell us that with the advent of GenAI, they are feeling nervous. The success of cyberattacks is often dependent on the ability to scale and to mimic real humans. GenAI has the potential to take cybercrime to a whole new, very dark, level.

Skills shortage less intense

Chart 50 per cent are expecting technology headcount increases

Our Question

Over the next year how do you expect your IT / technology headcount to change?

Your response

Col 22

Your response COL 22

This year sees headcount growth expectations decline, jumping from an all-time peak during the pandemic to something more in line with the decade prior to the pandemic. The focus for organisations has moved from growing headcount, to retaining, engaging and building the effectiveness of their existing teams.

Broadly, the skills shortage has also come down from an all-time high (in 2022). That said, the majority of digital leaders are still being held back by lack of access to skills (54% say this).

The most scarce skills are data engineers, enterprise architects, software engineers and technical architects.


Hybrid working improves diversity

Chart Only 8 per cent expect employees to be in the office 5 days per week

Our Question

How many days a week do you require employees to be in the office (If you have a policy)

Your response

Col 24

Your response COL 24

Six in ten organisations now have a policy for employees to be in the office at least one day per week, with larger organisations more likely to have such policies.

As the talent shortage has reduced a little, the pendulum of influence has swung more in the way of the employer. Some organisations have used this as an opportunity to push people back into the office, some going as far as mandating 4-5 days.

Our research shows that at least from a diversity perspective, this isn’t a good idea. Digital leaders who mandate one to two days are hiring 27% more women than their peers with five-day mandates. And generally what’s great for diversity tends to correlate with what’s great on a whole host of other measures, including innovation and collaboration.

It’s also worth mentioning that 1 – 2 day mandated organisations are 26% more likely than 4 - 5 day mandated ones to consider themselves better than their peers at attracting and retaining talent.

Net zero - almost half have no plans

Chart 53 per cent of organisations have a net zero target

Our Question

Does your organisation have a net-zero target?

Your response

Col 25

Your response COL 25

If you are looking for good news on sustainability, look away. Just under half of digital leaders said that their organisation had no plan to reach net zero.

Where plans are in place, almost half set their sights on 2030 and beyond, and here’s some good news: six in ten expect to deliver on their plan, with almost everyone else expecting to get close.


Whether you have a plan or not, net-zero is reliant upon everyone joining in, so let’s hope the needle moves when we return to this topic in next year’s report.

Digital leaders (re)gaining influence

Chart 68 per cent are respondents say their CIO is a member of their executive management team

Our Question

Are you a member of the operational board / executive management team of your organisation?

Your response

Col 27

Your response COL 27

In 2017 we began to see a decline in executive committee membership, as technology became increasingly owned and operated from outside the traditional technology team.

More recently, membership has climbed up again – to seven in ten, and close to its highest recorded level. The influence of the digital leader tends to grow when there are new technology challenges and right now, with the proliferation of new technologies, digital leaders can offer an invaluable perspective.


Our research shows that when digital leaders are given a seat at the top table this delivers advantages when it comes to outperforming the competition across many metrics, including a 20% uplift in adopting new technology and a 24% advantage in attracting and retaining talent.

Worth mentioning to your boss perhaps?

Digital leader salaries

Average basic $ 
Average benefits %
Average benefits $
Total compensation $
Average basic 
Average benefits %
Average benefits
Total compensation
All CIO/IT Directors

By Budget

Average basic $ 
Average benefits %
Average benefits $
Total compensation $
Average basic $
Average benefits %
Average benefits $
Total compensation $
Less than $1m
More than $250m

By Sector

Effects on base salary (%)
Effects on base salary
Charity / Non Profit
Advertising / PR
Telecommunications / Broadcast / Media
Business / Professional Services
Manufacturing / Automotive
Power & utilities
Transport / Logistics
Oil & Gas
Construction / Engineering
Financial Services

Your salary: COL 29

Your total benefits (bonus, LTIP, car etc.): COL 30

Your technology budget: COL 31

Well, we are close to the end of this Personal Benchmark Report, or perhaps you decided to scroll down to this section first (many do), so maybe you are only at the start!

But either way it feels appropriate to finish with salaries, because in a way they are the ultimate indicator of how the digital leader is valued with an organisation.

There are of course many, many factors that influence a salary. Ask a head-hunter (and our Harvey Nash business is just that), and they would say every person and every job has its own value and worth.

Harvey Nash are right. So treat these tables with caution.

The biggest factor that affects salary is budget size. Then followed by sector. Interestingly reporting line to the CEO or membership of the exec team only has a minor effect.

But the single biggest factor is the individual.

If you can have impact;

if you can cut through the fuzziness, confusion and uncertainty of the world around us and communicate with clarity;

if you can get the balance right between having just about the right amount of concern for governance whilst encouraging innovation and risk taking;

if you can realise that while business acumen is key, the real thing that differentiates you from the rest of the exec team is your understanding and enthusiasm for technology…

...If you can do all of these things, the rewards will follow.


That’s it from us. There’s plenty more in the report of course and on the microsite.

But before you go, we’d love your 30 second feedback. How valuable was this Personal BenchmarkReport to you?<link>

The DLR Team