What is the problem?
Many open vacancies for ICT practitioners cannot be filled, despite the high level of unemployment in Europe. While demand for ICT practitioners is growing by around 3% a year, the number of graduates from computing sciences, and more general large from maths, science and engineering, is actually declining. It is estimated that by 2015 there will be up to 900 000 unfilled vacancies for ICT practitioners.
Why is EU action required?
The choice of careers by individuals is too complex a process for any single stakeholder (whether business, policymaker or civil society organisation) to be able to exert decisive influence. In order for the many existing skills for digital jobs initiatives to reach the next level, and for new ones to emerge, all players in society have to embark on this journey together. The European Commission can act as a facilitator of this process.
What has the Commission done so far?
On 4 and 5 March 2013 the Grand Coalition for Digital Jobs was officially launched at a high-profile conference in Brussels in the presence of President Barroso and three Commissioners (Kroes, Andor, Vassiliou). A first group of stakeholders, including large companies and associations, presented "pledges", i.e. commitments on what they will do reduce the digital skills gap.
What will the Commission do?
The Commission will reach out to stakeholders to launch more initiatives to address the lack of ICT practitioners, whether by raising awareness of the potential of ICT careers, fostering cross-border mobility of ICT workers, promoting internationally accepted certification, or stimulating ICT training and the use of ICT in education.