Nov 17, 2016 | Weingarten

2016 D21 Digital Index: Companies must contribute to digitalization of Germans

CHG-MERIDIAN is supporting the D21 study as a partner for the first time
The digital skills of the German population are improving – but too slowly
Three out of four Germans prefer to learn how to use smartphones and similar devices by themselves in their spare time

The digital skills of German employees are improving too slowly. One reason is unequal access to the latest technological devices. However, there is a willingness to engage with them, including in the private sphere. Those are the results of the recently published 2016 D21 Digital Index. The onus is now on employers, above all, to actively promote the availability and use of the latest information technology among their employees and their families – and thereby to develop the skills that are badly needed for new, often data-based business models. Companies have an urgent need for both.

"It is imperative that employees everywhere and across all professional groups gain access to the latest technology in future. That was the original idea behind the Employee PC Program, and it has also been the motivation for D21 in supporting this program for a number of years. The new study shows that it is more important than ever today," commented Frank Kottmann, member of the Board of Management of CHG-MERIDIAN AG. The company is an official partner of the 2016 D21 Digital Index, and a member of the D21 Initiative. The D21 Initiative, which is supported by the German federal government, has been compiling its index since 2013 to measure how 'digital' the Germans are – and where there are gaps remaining.

The essentials in brief:

People in work are the more 'digital' Germans – but not all of them

  • People in work are more familiar with terms relating to digital topics, for example: app (difference: 32 percent), cookies (difference: 27 percent) and cloud (difference: 23 percent).
  • 91 percent of those in work use the internet, compared to only 65 percent of people who do not have a job.
  • Only 70 percent of those in work are using mobile internet, either for their job or privately.
  • 78 percent of Germans acquire digital skills by themselves through trial and error.
  • 84 percent of those questioned believe that professional success requires life-long learning.
  • A mere 38 percent of employees receive training in digital matters from their employer.

Men are ahead in terms of digitalization – because women are disadvantaged professionally

  • Almost three quarters of women (73 percent) and more than two thirds of men (68 percent) take advantage of the opportunity to make personal use of devices they receive as part of their jobs.
  • The digital index value for women is 46, for men it is 56.
  • At work, men have far more frequent access to digital end devices and programs than women. 41 percent of women questioned for the survey who had desk/office jobs stated that they were not provided with any of the tools listed, compared to 22 percent of male participants in the study.

Higher income, more digitalization

  • The higher their net household income, the more likely it is that employees are making use of systematic tutorials and training. Generally only one percent of the higher earners do not receive any training.
  • Up to a net household monthly income of €1,000, 59 percent are using the internet, up to €2,000 it is 67 percent, up to €3,000 86 percent and above €3,000 94 percent.
  • The higher the net household income, the more use is being made of digital commerce options. Of those questioned who lived in a household with a net monthly income of at least €3,000, 69 percent regularly used internet shopping.  

Offliners – they still exist

  • 31 percent of those aged between 60 and 69, and 21 percent of the population overall, are still offline.
  • 34 percent of the total population are making do without a smartphone.
  • 26 percent state that the loss of internet access would have a very negative impact on their daily lives.
  • Fewer and fewer people (offliners) make reference to internet use being: too complicated (-8 percent), too unsafe (-7 percent) or too expensive (-10 percent).

Further information and photos can be found at


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