At a time when Europe faces massive unemployment, companies across all industry sectors 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.
On February 2014 European Commission former President José Manuel Barroso and former 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 all interested stakeholders to join the Grand Coalition either by making pledges for concrete short-term actions, forming or joining National or Local Coalitions for Digital Jobs, participate in our events workshops and meetings to share success lessons learned and best practices.
So far, more than 50 pledging organisations have shown their commitment. Moreover, national coalitions have already been launched in Bulgaria, Greece, Malta, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania and Poland; other relevant initiatives are underway in more than 10 countries.
Efforts will continue to be enhanced so that additional trainings, internships and jobs can be counted in hundreds of thousands instead of thousands making the Coalition sustainable. As such, the Commission continues to seek commitments from CEOs and political leaders to pledge support for the Grand Coalition, widening the membership to additional ICT and ICT-using companies. The Grand Coalition aims also to reach out more companies’ HR managers and public, as well as private employment services.