An e-Skills for Jobs campaign has kicked off in Athens today to highlight the need for EU citizens to sharpen their ICT skills to help fill a digital skills shortage that could leave up to 1m jobs vacant in Europe by 2020, according to the European Commission.
The European Commission is launching the campaign with the Hellenic Presidency of the EU's Council of Ministers in an effort to also raise awareness of the jobs, training, education, and other opportunities available to people who know how to effectively use digital technologies.
The campaign comes on the heels of a new study titled e-Skills in Europe: Measuring Progress and Moving Ahead, that suggests the demand for jobs requiring digital skills will continue.
By 2020, the number of ICT management, architecture and analysis jobs will grow by 44pc compared to 2011, and related jobs will increase by 16pc, the study forecast.
Mid-level technician jobs, however, will continue to decline as a result of automation and productivity gains. Consequently, the study claims there is a corresponding need to increase the quality and relevance of e-skills available in the labour market, particularly since university graduates have generally been lacking in these skills.
Digital skills 'essential for employability'
Michel Barnier, acting Commissioner for Industry and Entrepreneurship, said digital skills are the new literacy.
"They are essential for employability," he said. "I am concerned that the lack of e-skills may be hindering growth in the tech sector and, as a consequence, European innovation and competitiveness.
“Today's decision to launch the e-Skills for Jobs campaign is an important step to help prepare young people for the jobs of today and tomorrow."
More than 60pc of Europe's digital jobs vacancies are in France, the UK, Italy and Germany, the European Commission reported.
The Commission also said member states are increasing their efforts when it comes to recruiting, training and raising awareness with respect to digital skills, although many still lack a strategy. Ireland is one of the more active countries, along with the UK, Belgium, Germany, Denmark, France, Malta, The Netherlands and Sweden, according to the Commission.
Countries with significant activity in the e-skills domain have the highest share of ICT workers in their workforce and rank highest on innovation and competitiveness indices, the European Commission added.
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