Information and communication technologies (ICT) have a considerable impact on living and working conditions. Nowadays, an increasing number of businesses rely on ICT for their daily operations and this often requires the development and maintenance of ICT systems by specialists.
In the EU, 3.7 % of the total number of persons employed in 2016 were
ICT specialists; this equated to 8.2 million persons. The highest shares of ICT specialists in total employment were registered in Finland (6.6 %), Sweden (6.3 %) and the Estonia (5.3 %).
In contrast to most other professions, employment developments of ICT specialists were largely unaffected by the financial and economic crisis. During the last decade, the number of employed ICT specialists increased by 33 % across the EU, compared with the 2 % growth for total employment. During the same period, the share of businesses which recruited or tried to recruit ICT specialists remained relatively stable at around 8 %.
In 2016, a large majority of ICT specialists who were employed in the EU were men (83 %), their share rising from 78 % in 2010. This gender distribution of ICT specialists was in contrast to the distribution for total employment, where the genders were broadly balanced (54 % men and 46 % women). Female ICT specialists were under-represented in all EU Member States and the largest gender gaps were found in Slovakia (91 % were men) and Czechia (89 %). The highest shares of female ICT specialists were recorded in Bulgaria (30 %) and Romania (26 %).
In 2016, almost two thirds of ICT specialists in the EU were aged 35 years or over (64 %), with the highest shares found in Italy (76 %) and Finland (71 %). By contrast, the highest shares of younger ICT specialists aged 15 to 34 years were recorded in Malta (63 %), Latvia and Poland (both 54 %). The majority of ICT specialists (62 %) in the EU had completed a
tertiary education level. Among the EU Member States, this share varied from 33 % in Italy to 82 % in Ireland.
ICT education provides a very good basis for job opportunities on the labour market: in the EU in 2016, a high proportion of people with an ICT education were in employment (91 %), either as an ICT specialist or in another occupation.
The highest employment rates for persons with an ICT education were recorded in Malta (98 %), Germany, Hungary and Estonia (all 97 %). ICT education was a predominantly male choice: in the EU, only 16 % of employed people with an ICT education were women. In 2016, most employed persons who possessed an ICT diploma in the EU were younger than 35 years (67 %) and had completed tertiary education (72 %).
From the perspective of
ICT skills are often essential for the effective use of ICT in business' processes and commercial transactions which are carried out electronically.
In 2017, around one fifth of businesses (19 %) in the EU employed
ICT specialists. This share has been more or less stable since 2012. Among the EU Member States, the highest shares of businesses employing ICT specialists were recorded in Ireland (33 %) and Belgium (29 %). The difference between
large businesses in the EU was remarkable: while 75 % of the latter employed ICT specialists, the share among SMEs was just 18 %.
This difference was most pronounced in Austria (87 % of large companies compared with 21 % of SMEs), Poland (74 % compared with 10 %) and Slovenia (81 % compared with 17 %) and least distinct in Romania (42 % and 9 %).
In 2017, 8 % of businesses in the EU reported having recruited or tried to recruit ICT specialists. Among the EU Member States, this share was highest for businesses in Belgium, Estonia, Luxembourg and the Netherlands (all 13 %). Again, there was a considerable difference by business size class: while 42 % of large businesses in the EU recruited or tried to recruit specialists in the EU, the corresponding figure was just 7 % for SMEs.
This difference was most pronounced in Denmark (55 % of large companies compared with 11 % of SMEs), the United Kingdom (50 % and 8 %) and Austria (49 % and 8 %) and least distinct in Cyprus (23 % and 9 %).
In the EU, almost half of the businesses (48 %) which recruited or tried to recruit ICT specialists had difficulties to fill their vacancies. Among the EU Member States, this situation was most widespread among businesses in Malta (70 %), Czechia and Austria (both 67 %) and Luxembourg (65 %).
Besides recruiting ICT specialists, businesses may choose to provide ICT training to their staff as well as outsource ICT tasks to external suppliers. In the EU in 2017, 21 % of companies reported having provided training to develop or upgrade ICT skills of their personnel. In addition, half of all EU businesses had their ICT functions mainly carried out by external suppliers in 2016, with the highest shares found in Italy (62 %), Belgium, Czechia and Portugal (all 61 %). While 50 % of SMEs in the EU made use of ICT outsourcing, this was done by a much smaller proportion of large businesses (28 %).