Developing a digital talent pool is crucial for the Digital Single Market, for European competitiveness and for our digital society to remain inclusive. Today around 45% of Europeans have only basic digital skills. All sectors of the economy are becoming digital, but 36% of the labour force – farmers, bank employees, factory works alike – has insufficient digital skills. Europe also lacks digitally skilled persons to fill job vacancies, despite high unemployment rates. There may be a lack of up to 500,000 Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) professionals in 2020.
The Coalition tackles the need for digital skills at all levels:
All organisations, groups, businesses or government bodies who take action to boost digital skills in Europe can become members of the Coalition by endorsing the objectives and principles of the Charter.
Members are encouraged to pledge for action to train more digital experts, re-skill and up-skill the labour force and provide citizens with the digital skills they need for their lives.
Member States can mobilise partners and form local, regional and national Digital Skills and Jobs Coalitions, which carry out actions in their countries to tackle the digital skills gap. Member States have been invited to develop digital skills strategies by mid-2017. To help them identify challenges and potential actions, experts have put together a model strategy, the so-called shared concept.
The Coalition also shares digital skills initiatives, which can be replicated and scaled up across Europe. In December 2016, 16 finalists were selected and four outstanding projects were awarded the first European Digital Skills Awards.
The goals of the combination of all initiatives in the Coalition are, by 2020, to: