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e-Skills for Jobs campaign: “Digital skills are the new literacy”

On 6 May the European Commission launched in Athens the “e-Skills for Jobs” campaign together with the Hellenic Presidency of the EU's Council of Ministers in order to raise awareness of the need for digital skills in today’s labour market and their shortage in Europe. The 2014 Grand Event, organised on this occasion in the capital of Greece, gathered government and ICT industry stakeholders and marked the creation of the Greek National Coalition for the Digital Economy. The 9 partners in the Greek National Coalition signed a Memorandum of Understanding and thus committed to developing an Action Plan within the following 3 months and to involving more partners from industry, academia, employment agencies and other relevant sectors. 

ICT is considered to be one of three employment growth areas and estimates suggest that by 2020, 90% of all jobs will require digital skills. In Europe today 40% of Europeans have no or low ICT skills (see ACA Newsletter – Education Europe, April 2014). The new study “e-Skills in Europe: measuring Progress and Moving Ahead”, released at the launch of the Greek National Coalition, confirms a growing trend for ICT skills requirements and presents an overall picture of most member states having responded to the European Skills Agenda with a few-year delay. At the same time, many of them still lack a strategy. Furthermore, according to the estimates reported in the 2012 Communication ‘Towards a job-rich recovery’ and the associated Staff Working Document on ‘Exploiting the employment potential of ICTs’, by 2015 Europe is expected to face a shortage of approximately 700 000 ICT practitioners due to a lack of skilled workers. This number is expected to rise to 1 million by 2020. Currently, more than 60% of Europe’s digital jobs vacancies are in UK, Germany, Italy and France. 

Michel Barnier, acting Commissioner for Industry and Entrepreneurship, said: “Digital skills are the new literacy: they are essential for employability”. He added that “the lack of e-skills may be hindering growth in the tech sector and, as a consequence, European innovation and competitiveness.”

Greece is the sixth EU country to formally launch a national coalition, after Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Malta. Other National Coalitions are being set up in Austria, Bulgaria, Italy, Slovakia and Spain. Press release