ICT specialists - statistics on hard-to-fill vacancies in enterprises

Data extracted in November 2016. Most recent data: Further Eurostat information, Main tables and Database. Planned article update: March 2018.

This article presents recent statistics on ICT specialists in enterprises. Information and communication technology (ICT) has fast become an integral part of business functioning. Its extensive and intensive use, together with new ways of accessing and using the internet efficiently, has created a demand for skilled ICT specialists. ICT specialists are defined here as people whose main job involves ICT and who are capable of dealing with a wide range of tasks concerning corporate ICT systems.

In today's companies, specialised ICT skills are essential to the effective use of ICT in business processes (e-business) and commercial transactions that are carried out electronically (e-commerce).

Figure 1: Enterprises employing, recruiting and having hard-to-fill vacancies for ICT specialists, by economic activity, EU-28, 2016 (% of enterprises)
Source: Eurostat (isoc_ske_itspen2) and (isoc_ske_itrcrn2)
Figure 2: Enterprises that recruited ICT specialists, with and without difficulties in filling vacancies, 2015 (% of enterprises)
Source: Eurostat (isoc_ske_itspen2) and (isoc_ske_itrcrn2), see list of country codes
Table 1: ICT specialists in enterprises, 2016, (% of enterprises)
Source: Eurostat (isoc_ske_itspen2) and (isoc_ske_itrcrn2) and (isoc_ske_ittn2)
Figure 3: ICT functions performed in enterprises, by function, all enterprises, EU-28, 2015 (% of enterprises)
Source: Eurostat (isoc_ske_fct)
Figure 4: ICT functions performed in enterprises, by function, large enterprises, EU-28, 2015 (% of enterprises)
Source: Eurostat (isoc_ske_fct)

Main findings

  • One in five EU enterprises employed ICT specialists.
  • Enterprises in all countries reported difficulties in recruiting ICT specialists, particularly in Czech Republic, Slovenia, Luxembourg, Austria, Belgium and Estonia.
  • Some 41 % of EU enterprises which recruited or tried to recruit ICT specialists in 2015 reported difficulties in filling vacancies.
  • Some 10 % of EU enterprises provided their ICT specialists with professional training, while 19 % provided ICT training for other staff.
  • Most EU enterprises outsourced their ICT functions.

Employment and recruitment of ICT specialists

One in 5 enterprises employed ICT specialists

ICT specialists are employed across all sectors of the economy. An increasing number of companies are using ICT, and some may even have their own IT departments. ICT-enabled solutions that require specialists to develop, adapt, maintain or support IT systems may include:

  • Web solutions for enterprises' website and e-commerce
  • Enterprise resource planning
  • Supply chain management
  • Customer relationship management
  • The use of cloud computing services


In addition, some ICT specialists have the relevant skills for specifying, evaluating or performing activities related to innovation or research. As can be expected, enterprises in the ICT sector employ and recruit more ICT specialists than other sectors.

In 2016, one in five EU enterprises employed ICT specialists (20 %), the highest proportion being observed among enterprises in information and communication industries (74 %). Overall, this sector accounts for almost 4 % of all EU enterprises with at least 10 persons employed. For other sectors, the percentage of enterprises employing ICT specialists ranged from 9 % in construction to 34 %, in professional, scientific and technical activities.

Enterprises in all countries reported difficulties in recruiting ICT specialists

In 2015, 9 % of EU enterprises recruited or tried to recruit ICT specialists and 4 % reported having hard-to-fill vacancies for jobs requiring relevant ICT skills. In all, 41 % of companies that recruited or tried to recruit ICT specialists in 2015 reported difficulties in filling vacancies.

In line with the statistics on enterprises employing ICT specialists, information and communication industries dominated the proportion of EU enterprises recruiting such specialists (53 %). However, there was a much lower demand for ICT specialists in the rest of the economy. The percentage of EU enterprises outside this sector, that recruited ICT specialists in 2015, ranged from 2 % in construction to 15 % in professional, scientific and technical activities.

Enterprises in all EU countries and Norway reported difficulties in recruiting ICT specialists. For those enterprises that recruited specialists in 2015, the ratio of those reporting hard-to-fill vacancies to those that did not report difficulties in recruitment was highest for the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Luxembourg, Austria, Belgium and Estonia.

Upgrading ICT skills and performing ICT functions in enterprises

Enterprises addressed their need in ICT skills by providing training: every 10th enterprise for ICT-specialists' skills and almost every 5th for ICT-users' skills

Besides recruiting skilled ICT specialists and employees with advanced ICT skills, some enterprises also provide training in ICT. By maintaining and developing their current human capital, this strategy helps them keep up with the evolving nature of the technical environment and versatile use of the internet. Some 10 % of EU enterprises provided their ICT specialists with training to upgrade their ICT skills, while 19 % provided training for other staff to develop their ICT skills.

Most enterprises outsourced their ICT functions

In 2016, respondents were asked to report on who mainly performed ICT functions for the enterprise, mainly own employees or external suppliers. The relevant ICT functions concerned the following:

  • Maintenance of ICT infrastructure (servers, computers, printers, networks)
  • Support for office software
  • Development/support of business management software/systems (e.g. ERP, CRM, HR, databases)
  • Development/support of web solutions (e.g. websites, e-commerce solutions)
  • Security and data protection (e.g. security testing, security software)

When broken down by the type of operation, for which the ICT skills were employed, the data showed that in 2015 EU enterprises reported the highest share of outsourcing for maintenance of ICT infrastructure (57 %), closely followed by functions related to security and data protection (53 %), development of web solutions (50 %) and support for web solutions (49 %).

Only for one function, namely the support for office software (such as word processors or spreadsheets, dedicated to producing documents, presentations, worksheets, graphs, charts, etc.) the share of enterprises that mainly used own employees (45 %) was higher compared to those that mainly used external suppliers (39 %).

In large enterprises, however, the situation is very different. Four ICT functions were mainly performed by own employees while for three functions (development of web solutions, support for web solutions and development of business management software/systems) the share of outsourcing was higher.

Data sources and availability

The data in this article are based on the results of the 2016 survey on ICT usage and e-commerce in enterprises.

The statistics were obtained from enterprise surveys conducted by national statistical authorities in 2016. The statistical observation unit is ‘the enterprise’, as defined in Regulation (EEC) No 696/1993. The survey covered enterprises with at least 10 persons employed.

Enterprises are broken down by size: small (10-49 persons employed), medium (50-249) and large (250 or more). In 2016, 148 000 out of 1.6 million enterprises in the EU-28 were surveyed. Of these 1.6 million enterprises, approximately 83 % were enterprises with 10-49 persons employed (small), 14 % with 50-249 (medium) and 3 % with 250 or more (large).

The survey covered enterprises in the NACE Revision 2 economic sections C to N and group 95.1 (repair of computers and communication equipment) except section K. Figures by economic activity refer to the following selected economic sectors:

  • manufacturing;
  • electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply; water supply; sewerage, waste management and remediation activities;
  • construction;
  • wholesale and retail trade; repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles;
  • transportation and storage;
  • accommodation;
  • information and communication;
  • real estate activities;
  • professional, scientific and technical activities; and
  • administrative and support service activities (excluding 'travel agency, tour operator and other reservation service and related activities')

Data in tables shown as ‘:’ refer to data that are unavailable, unreliable, confidential or not applicable. Unreliable data are included in the calculation of European aggregates.

Data presented in this article may differ from the data in the database on account of updates made after the data extractions used for this article.

Context

Competitiveness, innovation and job creation in European industry are being increasingly driven by the use of new information and communication technologies. This needs to be backed up by a workforce that has the knowledge and skills to use these new technologies efficiently. Given the transversal role of digital competences in the economy, a shortage of ICT specialists and workers with advanced ICT skills could hamper Europe’s growth objectives. The European Commission is working on a number of initiatives to boost ICT skills in the workforce. This is part of the Commission’s broader agenda for better skills upgrading, anticipating skills demand and matching skills supply to demand.

The Commission is launching the Digital Skills and Jobs Coalition to develop a large digital talent pool and ensure that individuals and the labour force in Europe are equipped with adequate digital skills.

See also

Further Eurostat information

Main tables

Database

Digital economy and society (isoc)
ICT usage in enterprises (isoc_e)
Websites and functionalities (isoc_ciweb)
Websites and use of social media (isoc_cism)
Social media use by type, internet advertising (isoc_cismt)

Dedicated section

Methodology / Metadata

Other information

  • Regulation (EC) No 808/2004 of 21 April 2004 concerning Community statistics on the information society
  • Regulation (EC) No 960/2008 of 30 September 2008 implementing Regulation (EC) No 808/2004 concerning Community statistics on the information society
  • Regulation (EC) No 1023/2009 of 29 October 2009 implementing Regulation (EC) No 808/2004 concerning Community statistics on the information society
  • Regulation (EU) No 821/2010 of 17 September 2010 implementing Regulation (EC) No 808/2004 concerning Community statistics on the information society
  • Regulation (EU) No 937/2011 of 21 September 2011 implementing Regulation (EC) No 808/2004 concerning Community statistics on the information society
  • Regulation (EU) No 1083/2012 of 19 November 2012 implementing Regulation (EC) No 808/2004 concerning Community statistics on the information society
  • Regulation (EU) No 859/2013 of 5 September 2013 implementing Regulation (EC) No 808/2004 concerning Community statistics on the information society
  • Regulation (EU) No 1196/2014 of 30 October 2014 implementing Regulation (EC) No 808/2004 concerning Community statistics on the information society
  • Regulation (EU) 2015/2003 of 10 November 2015 implementing Regulation (EC) No 808/2004 concerning Community statistics on the information society
  • Regulation (EC) No 696/1993 of 15 March 1993 on the statistical units for the observation and analysis of the production system in the Community

External links