Digital technology is transforming almost every aspect of our public, private or work life. For every individual - the worker, the learner, and the citizen - the natural consequence of technological innovation is the quest for new types of skills. Yet skills development does not come about as fast as technological development, which is why we are faced with a paradoxical situation: although millions of Europeans are currently without a job companies have a hard time finding skilled digital technology experts. As a result, there could be up to 825,000 unfilled vacancies for ICT (Information and Communications technology) professionals by 2020.
Moreover, there is a need for digital skills for nearly all jobs where digital technology complements existing tasks. In the near future 90% of jobs - in careers such as engineering, accountancy, nursing, medicine, art, architecture, and many more - will require some level of digital skills. At the end of the day every citizen needs to have at least basic digital skills in order to live, work, learn and participate in society.
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.
Today, the Grand Coalition is the largest collaborative effort in Europe aimed to offer more ICT training co-designed with the industry; implement job placement programmes; provide more digitally aligned degrees and curricula at all levels and types of training and education; and motivate young people to study ICT and pursue related careers.
More than 80 stakeholders, representing large and smaller companies, education providers and NGOs have made pledges, i.e. concrete commitments to act to reduce digital skills gaps. Likewise, National Coalitions for Digital Jobs aimed to facilitate high-impact actions at local level have already been launched in 13 countries (BE, BG, CY, EL, IT, LV, LT, MT, NL, PL, PT, RO, UK) and others are under formation. Furthermore, the Grand Coalition has gained large political support, including by the European Council, as well as high-level stakeholder support, such as by CEOs of global companies.
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, or participating in our events workshops and meetings to share success lessons and best practices.
We have come a long way in 2 years but our job is not finished – in fact, it has just started. 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. Now, more than ever, we need to build on our successes, address our challenges and step up our efforts. Learn how