Member states, companies, social partners, and NGOs will work together to meet the high demand for these jobs in Europe

The European Commission has just launched, together with EU Member States, companies, social partners, education providers and NGOs an alliance to help meet the high demand for digital skills in Europe, which are essential in today’s job market and society. This coalition is one of the ten initiatives of the New Skills Agenda for Europe, which Brussels presented in June this year and that consists of more than thirty entities pledging to reduce the digital skills gap that exists today.

The group is comprised of, among others, the European Digital SME Alliance, Google or the ECDL Foundation (European Computer Driving License). The members of this alliance are committed to tackling the digital skills gap at all levels – from high-level ICT specialist skills – and to “work and participate” in a digital economy and society.

Obstacle to growth

Günther H. Oettinger, Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society, mentioned that “the lack of digital skills is already hampering innovation and growth in Europe. Not just for ICT companies, but for organisations in all sectors. We must remove this obstacle to make sure Europeans get the jobs they deserve and our businesses have access to a large pool of digital talent”.

According to Brussels, Europe is lacking digitally skilled persons to fill job vacancies in all sectors, which means “missing out” on up to 750,000 Information and Communication Technologies jobs by 2020. In addition, they say that unemployment among young Europeans aged 14 to 24 stands at almost 20 % and that more than one third of the labour force and almost 45 % of the total European population only have basic digital skills.

The aim of the European Commission is to have national coalitions on this type in all Member States by 2020. At the moment, the Czech Republic, Estonia and Slovenia are about to announce theirs, while another four, which have not been specified, are working on them.
Brussels hopes that these combined initiatives will train one million young people for vacant digital jobs, support the upskilling of the workforce and of SMEs that face specific challenges in attracting and retaining digital talent, and modernise education and training systems.