Europe, Digital Skills, and the Digital Single Market

30/03/2015

news thumbnail Last week was Get Online Week, which saw thousands of participants take part in events in 25 countries across Europe with a view to improving their digital skills. Get Online Week is just one of the European Commission-backed initiatives aimed at improving citizens' ICT skills. While technology advances at an exponential rate, people's digital skills cannot always keep pace with the rapid change.

This puts Europe in a quite a paradoxical situation: although almost 24 million Europeans are currently without a job, companies have a hard time finding skilled digital technology experts. As a result, there could be up to 825,000 unfilled vacancies for ICT (Information and Communications technology) professionals by 2020.

Some of the figures that emerged from Get Online Week have put this issue into sharp focus: nearly 20% of Europeans have never used the internet. Estimates show that around 40% of people in the EU workforce do not have adequate digital skills; 14% have no digital skills at all.

The digital single market has been identified as a key plank in Europe’s economic revival. As well as developing Europe’s physical infrastructure, we must also ensure that Europe’s citizens have the necessary skills to avail of all of the opportunities afforded by the global transformation that is being brought about by digital technologies. That is why the European Commission will continue to run digital initiatives, such the eSkills for Jobs and the Grand Coalition for Digital Jobs, as well as supporting multi-stakeholder initiatives such as EU Code Week, and the European Coding Initiative.

Together, we can achieve a Europe where every citizen is truly digital.

Sources:
‘Here is how we will improve digital skills and create more jobs in Europe’,  Lucilla Sioli, Head of unit "Knowledge Base", DG Connect, European Commission

‘Europe should embrace the global digital transformation and keep its sights on jobs and growth’, John Higgins, Director General of DIGITALEUROPE

‘Digital skills, jobs and the need to get more Europeans online’, Andrus Ansip, European Commission Vice-President for the Digital Single Market 

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