Digital Single Market
Digital Economy & Society

Work session 5 - How to ensure that Europe has the digital skills to succeed in transforming all economic sectors for the digital age?


The rate at which technology is developing is making it a lot more difficult for people to stay up-to-date with the skills they need. As a result, companies cannot find enough highly skilled ICT experts. This is happening all over the world right now, not just in Europe. Moreover, it concerns almost every sector of the economy since digital technologies are permeating all industries – from retail to logistics, education to healthcare. As such we need to secure the future of the industry by teaching young people digital skills, by investing in the current generation of workers and by addressing the skills demand today.

The work session focused on digital skills, education, training and jobs.
Firstly, it discussed the Grand Coalition for Digital jobs, which is a multi-stakeholder partnership aimed to close the digital skills gap. In particular, we discussed:

  • how to make it more sustainable,
  • how to increase its impact so that additional trainings, internships and jobs are offered, and
  • how to bring more organizations on board, e.g. companies from the ICT-using sectors, employment services, HR networks, and education players.

Secondly, the work session looked at establishing:

  • what types of digital skills are increasingly required in the labour market, such as coding skills but also for example cyber-securitycloud computing and big data analytics skills,
  • why they are important (for employability, logic/computational/analytical thinking, empowerment, understanding the challenges and opportunities in the digital world), and
  • how stakeholders and education players can help promoting these skills (e.g. as in-house corporate training, as extra-curricular activity in the short term, in the curricula, even optional, in the longer term).

We aimed at a very interactive, "TV-style" work session, in which high-level representatives of the industry, the academia and the public sector helped with crowd sourcing ideas to tackle the above mentioned ambitions.
The following is an indicative list of organizations that were represented: ICT companies, companies from the ICT-using sectors (e.g. automotive, healthcare, retail, food, media and communication companies, broadcasting networks) and also SMEs, industry associations, business analytics companies, public and private employment services, ministries of education and employment, teachers and school masters, academics, NGOs (coding clubs), young coding experts.


Click to show the agenda

Moderator: Gesche Joost, Digital Champion of Germany

  • 14.00 - Welcome & Introduction

    Gesche Joost, Digital Champion of Germany

  • 14.05 - Panel 1: "Which digital skills are increasingly required in the labour market?"

  • 14.25 - Amy Mather, a.k.a. MiniGirlGeek

    Amy Mather, the MiniGirlGeek

  • 14.30 - Panel 2: "How can stakeholders and education players help promoting these digital skills?"

    • Xavier Fouger, Vice-President, European Society for Engineering Education (SEFI) & Senior Director of the Global Academia Programs, Dassault Systemes
    • Tom Crick, Senior Lecturer in Computing Science, Cardiff Metropolitan University & Board Member, Computing at School
    • Jouni Kangasniemi, Senior Adviser, Finnish Ministry of Education
    • Julie Cullen, Young Advisor to the Vice-President of the European Commission Neelie Kroes

  • 14.50 - Online animation reporting

    Martin Schmucker, Public Relations Manager, Iversity

  • 14.55 - 15.00 - Session conclusions

    Gesche Joost, Digital Champion of Germany

  • 15.00 - 16.00 - Interactive session - "World Café"

    • Marietta Grammenou, European Commission, DG Communications Networks, Content and Technology
    • Mariëlle Bastiaens, European Commission, DG Communications Networks, Content and Technology
  • 16.00 - End of work session

Work Session rapporteur: George Chatzitheodosiou, Information Technology Student, DEREE - The American College of Greece

How can Europe address the digital skills needs of all people, taking into account different entry levels?

What digital skills are needed? It's not only about high-profile coding abilities, but also about very basic practical knowledge: How to write an email, how to use an Excel sheet, how to use social media etc. Skills levels vary dramatically within the European population and across the EU member states, and IT literacy is a matter of inclusion.

How can we organize a better match of labor market demands and educational curricula?

Given the quickly changing requirements for skills in the digital economy, an efficient transfer between the labor market and educational institutions must be ensured. How can we better monitor the demand for skills on the job market and orient the supply offered by education providers along these lines? How can reaction times be minimized?

How can we improve the transparency of the ICT labor market?

The market for qualifications has a significant transparency problem, and orientation is hard to come by. It is anything but obvious for people who attempt to enter the ICT field to find out which qualifications are needed for which positions, which career paths the digital sector offers and what qualifications employers are looking for.

What digital skills are most needed in Europe?

What digital skills are most needed in Europe? 900,000 ICT job positions are projected to be vacant in Europe in 2020. But which skills exactly will these jobs require? Who are employers, recruiters and headhunters looking for? Not only the major ICT companies are looking for web talent.

Welcome to the discussion

In view of the Digital Action Day workshop on Digital Skills, we open this space to prepare the debate and focus the scope of the discussion with the widest range of participants.