The rapid pace of digital transformation is changing every aspect of our lives – and is also generating needs for new skills and knowledge in the workplace. As job profiles evolve, shortages and mismatches can result, but universities may be able to help.

Looking at current data, we are concerned that the gap between the demand for advanced digital skills and the supply of suitable employees is becoming entrenched. There are currently around nine million people employed as ICT specialists in the EU – two million more than five years ago – and, based on market trends, we expect this figure to continue growing. But already today posts for ICT specialists in the EU are going unfilled. This growing structural shortage must be addressed, in order to preserve the innovation potential and future competitiveness of European businesses and jobs.

Universities have a strong role to play, but it is not always easy for them to adapt their curricula to rapidly changing needs, while at the same time providing a solid foundation for their students. To consider how we can best address the situation, we decided to co-organise the Digital Talent Gap Workshop on 30 October 2019 in Rome, where we will brainstorm ways of boosting collaboration between academic institutions and industry and enabling academics to deliver teaching that allows students to thrive. The workshop will bring together representatives of universities, businesses of all sizes, and students, and focus on artificial intelligence, cybersecurity and software engineering.

Participants will be encouraged to share their insights and experiences, work together to explore the issues at stake, and co-design concrete solutions for the way forward. The results will be published in the form of a report and will feed into the current debate on future policies, including programmes at European level like the Digital Europe programme.

If you are interested in joining the debate, please let us know. We look forward to your ideas and active contribution to this discussion!