José Manuel Barroso, European Commission
president today called on Europe's digital businesses, governments,
training and education sectors to join a Grand Coalition for Digital Jobs to
address up to 900,000 job vacancies expected to exist in Europe in Information
and Communication technologies (ICT) by 2015. Despite the current levels of
unemployment, the number of digital jobs is growing by more than 100,000 per
year. Yet the number of fresh ICT graduates and skilled ICT workers is not
keeping up according to Barroso. The industry accounts for 3.1% of the overall
The tech industry has a history of claiming
high vacancies and Europe has few high profile tech companies. The vacancies
estimate comes from a report that will be published this month - -
strange that the cart was put before the horse. It's not clear where these
shortages will be. It looks that Barroso is in need of a good story on jobs.
The United States remains the leading host
country for international students in science, technology, engineering, or
mathematics (STEM) fields, and the global competition for talent has
intensified. A record number of STEM graduates - - both US residents and foreign
nationals - - are entering the US labour market, and there is a renewed focus on
creating additional immigration pathways for foreign professional workers in
STEM fields. However, it is estimated that two-thirds of US workers with STEM
degrees, are employed in non-STEM occupations even though the US Department
of Commerce has said that “growth in STEM jobs was three times as fast as growth
in non-STEM jobs” over the past 10 years.
Vice-Presidents Neelie Kroes (Digital
Agenda) and Antonio Tajani (Industry and Entrepreneurship) and Commission
members László Andor (Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion) and Androulla
Vassiliou (Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth) also attended the
launch of the Grand Coalition held today in Brussels, which is part of the
Commission's drive to make Europe more competitive.
Richard Bruton TD, Ireland's minister
for jobs, enterprise and innovation, claimed that he was at the event as part of
the Irish presidency but was not mentioned in the official release.
Bruton said: "By 2018, we aim to lead
Europe in terms of ICT graduates as a percentage of all third level graduates” -
but why can you not establish a credible apprenticeship system for unemployed
President Barroso said: "The
Grand Coalition we launch today is an essential part of getting Europe's economy
back on track and finding jobs for some of Europe's 26m unemployed. I
applaud those companies who have signed up today. If, together, we can turn the
tide and fill the growing number of ICT vacancies, we will see a much wider
impact across the whole economy. We want to empower
Europeans to fill the jobs that will drive the next ICT revolution."
Europe cannot afford to leave employment
opportunities like this unexploited. Today's announcement builds on the
groundwork laid by Vice President Kroes in collecting initial pledges on new
jobs, internships, training places, start-up funding, free online university
courses and more from technology companies, governments, educators, social
partners, employment service providers and civil society organisations at the
World Economic Forum in Davos
Initial commitments from stakeholders have
been endorsed with over 15 companies and organisations signing up to the Grand
Coalition. Among the first pledges to come to life is a new online learning
platform for young people called the
Academy Cube and a new training module for energy smart grid installers.
The Commission has sought pledges in the
following key areas:
Training and matching for digital jobs – to help
ensure the skills people are getting are the skills business needs;
Mobility – helping those with skills get to the
place where they're needed, to avoid shortages and surpluses in different
towns and cities;
Certification – making it easier to prove to an
employer what skills one has, regardless of the country;
Awareness raising – so that people know the
digital sector offers rewarding and enjoyable careers to both women and men;
Innovative learning and teaching – so our
education and training systems expand and improve to give more people the
skills for success.
President Barroso also called on organisations to
follow the example of the early pledgers. The Commission has a role to play, but
actions like industry-led training, assisting labour mobility, certifying
skills, improving school and university curricula, raising awareness, and
creating an entrepreneur friendly environment for start-ups need the active
engagement of all stakeholders.
The Commission is also launching Startup
Europe, a single platform for tools and programmes supporting people wanting to
set up and grow web start-ups in Europe.
The Employment Package adopted by the
Commission in April 2012 pointed out that there is a significant shortfall in
ICT professionals despite high unemployment elsewhere (IP/12/380,
The ICT workforce in Europe in 2011
amounted to 6.7 million, which is 3.1% of the overall workforce. From
2000 to 2010 the ICT workforce grew at an average annual rate of 4.3%.
According to brand new, as yet unpublished figures (Empirica,
March 2013), the number of digital jobs that will be created in Europe by 2015
could be as high as 864,000. However, a drop in the number of ICT
graduates leaving universities, and the retirement of ICT workers over the
coming years, risks endangering ICT job growth potential. Education in science,
technology, engineering and mathematics needs to be strengthened and the career
image of these fields improved, in particular for women.
the Commission says ensuring that EU workers have
the necessary higher-end skills will help attract investment and prevent loss of
key ICT employment to other regions of the world, as is highlighted in the
Commission Staff Working Document "Exploiting the employment potential of ICTs",
released as part of the Employment Package.
In order to better forecast skills needs,
the European Commission says it launched in December 2012 the EU Skills Panorama, a
website presenting quantitative and qualitative information on short- and
medium-term skills needs, skills supply and skills mismatches (IP/12/1329).
The Panorama, drawing on data and forecasts compiled at EU and Member State
level, highlights the fastest growing occupations as well as the top
'bottleneck' occupations with high numbers of unfilled vacancies. Currently,
there are around 2 million job vacancies across the EU, despite high levels of
unemployment. The website contains detailed information sector by sector,
profession by profession and country by country.