The European Commission is leading a Grand Coalition for Digital Jobs to tackle the lack of digital skills in Europe and the thousands of unfilled vacancies in the field of information and communication technologies (ICT) across all industry sectors. At a time when Europe faces massive unemployment, companies across all industry sectors face a critical shortfall of talented ICT workers. This contradictory picture reveals a mismatch between the skills on offer and those in demand in the fast developing digital market. Europe might face a shortage of up to 825,000 ICT professionals by 2020, risking its potential for growth, social cohesion and digital competitiveness.
There is a broad consensus on the importance of improving awareness and the image of digital jobs and of promoting digital education, jobs and careers across all sectors. In the scope of the implementation of the EU long term e-Skills strategy and of the Digital Agenda the European Commission has supported the organisation of awareness raising campaigns focusing on students, enterprises and ICT practitioners. Based on these experiences and the strong interest of Member States and stakeholders on digital skills – as demonstrated by the successful progress of the EU e-Skills strategy and of the Grand Coalition for Digital Jobs – it has been decided to organise a new communication campaign “eSkills for Jobs” in 2015 and 2016.
This campaign is providing a pan-European platform bringing together all relevant public and private organisations. It’s currently developing numerous activities with public authorities (ministries and agencies), industry and other relevant stakeholders. And, it’s placing a special focus on digital education, jobs and careers in Europe.
The campaign is targeted at young people (pupils in secondary and tertiary education), unemployed people seeking digital education, training and jobs in all sectors, professionals, business leaders (especially small and medium sized enterprises and ICT using industries) and policy makers.
The official launch of this campaign took place on 13 March 2015 in Riga, where a high level conference was held under the Latvian Presidency of the Council of the European Union. The conference was attended by over 250 stakeholders and the campaign target groups. It commanded media attention both at national and European levels.
The conference took stock of existing and new digital jobs in Europe today and the corresponding e-skills needs. It highlighted the contribution of e-skills to the digital transformation of the European economy as a whole, beyond the traditional IT sector, and the potential to foster innovation, competitiveness, jobs and growth. The conference also spotlighted the development of e-leadership and ICT professionals in Europe. In addition to showcasing innovative ICT education and training policies and tools, the event assessed the future actions of the Grand Coalition for Digital Jobs, including reflections on the role of national coalitions.
The conference was enriched by an exhibition area where leading players displayed their products and services.
The conference contributed to set-up the further policy and initiatives for e-skills development in Europe to meet an increasing demand for ICT professionals in all sectors of the economy. A policy Declaration was adopted and publicly launched during the event.