Lack of IT skills threaten Europe’s smart economy

11 Nov 2011

A lack of Europeans with the right skills is severely threatening Europe’s chances of becoming a smart, sustainable and inclusive economy, warns the Council of European Professional Informatics Societies (CEPIS).

A worrying picture of Europe’s future emerges from new research showing that as the population ages and the demand for skilled IT professionals increases, the flow of fresh, young talent into the field of IT is sadly lacking.

The lack of career paths damages the attractiveness of the IT profession for new entrants, while continuous professional development is needed for established professionals.

As ICT pervades all industries, companies rely increasingly on technology for productivity and to compete globally.

Cost of IT failures worldwide reaches €4.5trn

Yet the cost of IT project failures is estimated at €4.5trn worldwide, and with more than half of IT projects running over budget – IT professionals are inextricably linked with Europe’s ability to thrive and compete globally.

Until now, there has been little information on what e-competences are currently held by IT professionals in Europe.

The Council of European Professional Informatics Societies (CEPIS) has carried out pioneering research in an attempt to quantify this in Europe and has just published the European report. The survey was carried out in 28 countries across Europe, and has almost 2,000 respondents.

In Ireland, almost 200 ICT professionals participated in the pioneering survey that provided a snapshot of their competences against an agreed European framework (European e-Competence Framework). This research, carried out by the Irish Computer Society, offered a unique opportunity to explore the status of professional e-competence in Ireland and other EU Member States.

The report shows that Irish ICT professionals who responded were, on average, older than their counterparts in the rest of Europe. The proportion of IT professionals in Ireland with an educational background where IT was only a secondary subject is 5pc higher than the rest of Europe. This suggests there may be greater difficulty in Ireland than in the rest of Europe to source candidates with IT qualifications for advertised roles.

Overall, male ICT professionals outnumber female ICT professionals, showing there is a need to attract more women to ICT careers; however, the proportion of female representation in ICT is higher in Ireland than the rest of Europe.

Regarding competence analysis, while 25pc of respondents stated they were IT managers, only 7pc appeared to have the competences required for this role. Further research is required into e-competence gaps such as these to identify detailed training paths which are definitely needed.

John Kennedy
By John Kennedy

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years. His interests include all things technological, music, movies, reading, history, gaming and losing the occasional game of poker.

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