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European Commission

MEMO

Brussels, 28 May 2014

Does digital technology create or kill jobs? Do Europeans have the digital skills needed to get a job and keep a job?

IP/14/609

The latest data, released by the European Commission today, shows that even though more people are going online, almost 50% of the population have insufficient digital skills for today’s work environment.

This skills gap persists at a time when more ICT specialists are needed than ever before, and ICT related jobs are being created much more quickly than in other sectors.

@NeelieKroesEU says: "There are plenty of EU initiatives to help national governments and private organisations tackle these issues, including: Opening up education, learning to code, Get Online Week, eSkills for jobs and the Grand Coalition for Digital Skills and Jobs."

Up to 50% are digitally illiterate in some EU member states

Lack of skills is proving to be more of an ICT access barrier than cost. 37% of households without a broadband subscription say that this is because of a lack of skills, compared to 26% who cite equipment costs as a barrier.

40% or more of the population in some EU member states have no digital skills (Italy, Greece, Bulgaria and Romania), meaning large groups in Europe remain digitally illiterate.

Up to 85% of the overall population and 83% of the workforce in some Member States do not have the digital skills they need.

The 11 Member States where more than 50% of the population has insufficient digital skills are: BG, CY, CZ, EL, HR, IT, LT, PL, PT, RO, SI. Overall, 47% of Europeans have insufficient digital skills.

Yet a growing number of jobs require Digital Skills

ICT-skilled employment has grown by over two million jobs since 2000, and these jobs are growing seven (7) times faster than overall employment.

The biggest employment gains have been made in: software publishing, computer programming, consultancy, data processing and hosting, within the ICT sector; and in financial and business services (consultancy, accounting, market research etc.) outside the ICT sector.

This growing demand, when set against continuing skills gaps means there will be massive numbers of unfilled jobs in the period 2015-2020, unless national policy interventions are made. The biggest gaps are expected to be in the UK (250,000), Italy (180,000) and Germany (150,000).

To tackle this issue, the European Commission has convened the Grand Coalition for Digital Jobs. Coalition partners pledge to take specific action to increase ICT training, attract young people in ICT education or help modernising ICT education. Depending on their area of expertise, partners pledge to create new training programmes or offer jobs and internships, to promote coding to youngsters, and so on.

Non-specialist roles in ICT shrinking

It should be noted that while jobs for ICT specialists are growing – in any sector of the economy, whether in the ICT sector, banking, car manufacturing, hotels or other – the ICT manufacturing sector has lost jobs. However, the loss of employment in ICT manufacturing has been only one fifth of the employment gains by ICT specialists: 400 000 lost vs. 2 000 000 gained.

Contacts

Email: comm-kroes@ec.europa.eu Tel: +32.229.57361 Twitter: @RyanHeathEU


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