Generation X and millennials ‘over-dependent on IT support’

IT departments are wasting huge amounts of time helping employees to use presentation technology in the boardroom – and it’s generation X and millennials that struggle the most, rather than their more experienced colleagues.

New research commissioned by Barco ClickShare and conducted by independent research agency Vanson Bourne suggested the average worker still regularly fails to set up presentations without IT support, leading to meetings being disrupted, business being affected and IT departments suffering a huge drain on time and resources.

>See also: Engaging millennials in the workplace

Lieven Bertier, head of product management at Barco ClickShare said that “Issues around technology remains a major hurdle for businesses to overcome. The research shows that presentation issues are the most common of all technology problem for businesses, which take up a lot of employee’s time and can have a large impact on the reputation of the company and workforce productivity.”

“Business leaders and IT decision makers can address presentation problems with the deployment of easy to use wireless technology, removing the need for training and minimising disruption caused in meetings.”

The global study surveyed 1,250 IT decisions makers from companies in the UK, US, Germany and France. Surprisingly, it is not the oldest employees that struggle the most with technology in the boardroom. It is generation X and millennials that IT professionals say require the most assistance and fare least well in the boardroom, while over 55s and Generation Z are far more self-sufficient.

Technology pioneer and data scientist Inma Martinez, commenting on this unexpected revelation, said: “Millennials, Centennials and some Generation X employees excel at being digitally social, yet they are 100 per cent mobile driven, lacking the necessary skills for interoperability – that is, to understand how desktop computers connect to other devices or, furthermore, how network infrastructure really works. This explains why they represent the largest employee group requiring IT support around presentation technologies in the workplace.”

>See also: Low-code technology: an emerging term that needs more definition

“The very nature of Millennials and Centennials is short-term oriented, spoiled by the instant gratification of e-commerce, the widespread availability of WiFi and the seamless user experience that mobile apps present today. Generation X, because they weren’t born digital, feel even more alienated.”

“Outside of this digital environment, when confronted by desktop interoperability issues – connecting to other machines, or understanding basic network infrastructure, they experience ‘digital frustration’. They are not only at odds, but require stronger support and respond from IT teams beyond what other generations need in the workplace because patience is not their forte.”

Overall, boardroom technology was cited as the biggest IT challenge facing companies, both in the UK and globally. The IT department, at an average company, experiences 11 problems every week, taking more time to resolve than any other IT issue.

In the study, almost six in ten (58%) of those surveyed globally believed the root cause of IT issues in the boardroom was the fact that employees are not ‘digitally savvy’ enough to use the technology available to them. Meanwhile 86% of respondents believed their organisation’s employees should have better technology skills to be able to cope when things go wrong.


It was in the UK that the skills gap was most acute, with 65% of respondents believing the problem lay in employees’ lack of digital knowledge – the most of any surveyed country. There was also a clear North-South divide: only 55% of London respondents highlighted this as a key issue, compared to 74% in the North and Midlands.

>See also: Navigating the minefield of ERP support

Worryingly, UK employees were also the most dismissive when it came to tackling the problem themselves. UK respondents were more likely than any other country to report that employees do not believe it is their job to deal with technology problems (45% of respondents).

The IT decision makers surveyed also highlighted the detrimental impact that ineffective presentation technology can have on businesses, with more than 50% of respondents reporting that these issues were associated to a loss of business and damage to reputation. Nearly three quarters claimed that presentation technology issues caused important meetings to be postponed (72%), and had led to disputes between colleagues (73%).

The results underline the wider productivity problem faced by the UK which, according to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), lags at least 16% behind the rest of the G7 group of industrial nations in terms of national productivity.


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Nick Ismail

Nick Ismail is a former editor for Information Age (from 2018 to 2022) before moving on to become Global Head of Brand Journalism at HCLTech. He has a particular interest in smart technologies, AI and...