With 900,000 ICT vacancies predicted for the EU in 2015, a Grand Coalition for Digital Jobs has been established to fill these positions through improved training initiatives and skills matching.
Ireland’s Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton, TD, launched the Grand Coalition in Brussels today. Bruton is also chair of the European Council of Employment Ministers during the Irish Presidency of the EU.
“Even during the economic crisis, the numbers employed in ICT have been growing by 3pc annually,” said Bruton. “In spite of this, strong demand will continue and, according to the latest revised data, there is expected to be up to 900,000 unfilled vacancies in the EU for ICT professionals by 2015.”
The minister was joined by European Commission president José Manuel Barroso; vice-president in charge of the Digital Agenda Neelie Kroes; commissioner for employment, social affairs and inclusion László Andor; and commissioner for education, culture, multilingualism and youth Androulla Vassiliou.
Training, certification and support
In order to fill the predicted ICT skills gap, a number of initiatives have been established to meet demand and reduce unemployment, including improved ICT training and skills matching, targeting ICT workers, young job seekers and the unemployed across the EU. Some of Europe’s largest tech employers have committed to scaling up their training programmes for this initiative, with representatives from Google, Microsoft, HP, SAP and Cisco Systems present at today’s announcement.
“While advanced ICT professions undoubtedly require a graduate degree in a computer-related field, for many other ICT occupations, short tailored training combined with work experience can be designed to upskill or reskill job-seekers – especially those with previous experience in technical or scientific areas. ICT can therefore be a promising option for workers who become unemployed,” said Bruton.
A common EU certification for ICT skills will also be introduced, and assistance services and funding will be created to enable ICT workers to move easily within the EU to areas with the highest demand for their skills.
Initiatives for students and entrepreneurs
For web entrepreneurs, a one-stop shop for support and resources called Startup Europe is being established, and the coalition will also work to ensure students and young professionals across Europe are aware of the range of ICT-related jobs and career paths.
“We see the number of ICT graduates in Europe has decreased from 127,000 in 2006 to 114,000 in 2010,” noted Bruton. “We cannot afford to allow European labour markets to fall behind in this way and lose job opportunities in favour of other regions of the world.”
Bruton also announced today the Irish Government’s intention to lead Europe in the number of ICT graduates as a percentage of all third-level graduates by 2018.
The Grand Coalition on Digital Jobs will have clear targets and indicators of success that will be measured and evaluated. The Irish Government will support the work of the coalition both during its EU Presidency and going forward as an interested EU member state.