At a time when Europe faces massive unemployment, technology companies face a critical shortfall of talented ICT experts. This contradictory picture reveals a mismatch between the skills on offer and those in demand in today's fast developing technology market. As a result Europe might face a shortage of up to 900,000 ICT professionals by 2020, risking its potential for growth and digital competitiveness.
This is why in March 2013 the Commission launched the Grand Coalition for Digital Jobs: a multi-stakeholder partnership that endeavours to facilitate collaboration among business and education providers, public and private actors to take action attracting young people into ICT education, and to retrain unemployed people. 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 in the near future.
Recently the European Commission President José Manuel Barroso and Vice President Neelie Kroes brought CEOs from across the global economy together at the World Economic Forum in Davos to expand the Coalition that is delivering digital training opportunities and jobs. Corporate leaders were then invited to endorse the Davos Declaration on the Grand Coalition for Digital Jobs.
We encourage stakeholders to join the Grand Coalition either by making pledges for concrete short-term actions and forming or joining National Coalitions for Digital Jobs. We also strive to engage many more stakeholders through our events, workshops and meetings to share success stories and best practices.
So far, 47 pledging organisations have joined. The online Pledge Tracker shows the progress made in implementing the individual pledges. Moreover, national coalitions have already been launched in Latvia, Lithuania, Romania and Poland; and initiatives are underway in more than 10 countries.
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.