With demand for skilled ICT workers exceeding supply, Europe could soon face a shortage of up to 900,000 ICT workers – potentially missing an opportunity to fight massive unemployment and risking its digital competitiveness. To respond to this challenge, the Commission launched the Grand Coalition for Digital Jobs, an initiative aimed at increasing the overall supply of digitally skilled professionals and to better match supply and demand of digital skills. Our goal is to start to increase the supply of ICT practitioners by 2015, so as to ensure a sufficient number of them in Europe by 2020. The mandate of the Grand Coalition runs from 2013 to 2015 with a review foreseen at the end of this term.
Launched in March 2013 by President José Manuel Barroso, Vice-Presidents Neelie Kroes and Antonio Tajani, Commissioners László Andor and Androulla Vassiliou, the first results of the Grand Coalition are encouraging: we have received more than 40 pledges so far, including from large companies such as Google, Telefonica, SAP, Microsoft and Cisco. Pledges have come in also from smaller companies, education providers and NGOs, while policy-makers all over Europe and the European Council have provided strong political support to the initiative. The progress made in carrying out the individual pledges can be monitored via the online Pledge Tracker.
In addition, National Coalitions are being developed in more than 10 Member States with the aim of facilitating action at local level. For example, Lithuania and Poland have officially launched their national coalitions with the active presence of Vice President Kroes.
Over the next months the efforts will be enhanced so that additional trainings, internships and jobs can be counted in hundreds of thousands instead of thousands and to make the Coalition sustainable. As such, the Commission seeks commitments from CEOs and political leaders to pledge substantial support for the Coalition, widening the membership to additional ICT and ICT-using companies. The Coalition aims also to reach out more companies’ HR managers and public, as well as private employment services.
The Grand Coalition is also an action that supports the legislative package for a "Connected Continent: Building a Telecoms Single Market" aimed at building a connected, competitive continent and enabling sustainable digital jobs and industries, which was adopted on 11 September 2013.
Key priorities - Concrete short-term actions
The Grand Coalition for Digital Jobs delivers concrete actions, which can be implemented in the short-term and have high local impact. It builds on on-going programmes and best practices that could be scaled-up. The following are some of the objectives of the actions:
- Improve the image and attractiveness of ICT careers;
- Offer training packages co-designed with the ICT industry;
- Offer more aligned degrees and curricula at vocational and university level education that will respond to the needs of the students and the industry;
- Improve recognition of qualifications across countries by stimulating take-up of a European certification scheme for digital skills of ICT professionals, based on the existing e-Competence Framework;
- Reduce labour market mismatches by stimulating mobility;
- Stimulate digital entrepreneurship by liaising with Startup Europe, a single platform for tools and programmes supporting people wanting to set up and grow web start-ups in Europe.
The Grand Coalition helps to accelerate and intensify efforts initiated by European policies, such as the Digital Agenda for Europe, the e-Skills Strategy, the Employment Package, the Opening up Education Initiative, the Rethinking Education Strategy, the Youth Opportunities Initiative, and the EU Skills Panorama.
For more information about the Grand Coalition Priorities, please consult the Grand Coalition Framing Document.
Do you want to stimulate digital entrepreneurship and remove some of the barriers entrepreneurs face when creating a startup? Then take a look at the Startup Europe Manifesto - read it, sign it, and share it!