ICT specialists - statistics on hard-to-fill vacancies in enterprises

Data extracted in December 2018.

Planned article update: June 2021.

Highlights


In 2017, more than half of EU enterprises that recruited or tried to recruit ICT specialists had difficulties in filling ICT vacancies.

During 2017, 10 % of EU enterprises provided their ICT specialists with professional training, while twice as many provided ICT training for other staff.

Enterprises that had hard-to-fill vacancies for ICT specialists, 2017 (% enterprises that recruited or tried to recruit)

This article presents recent statistics on ICT specialists in enterprises. Information and communication technology (ICT) has fast become an integral part of business functioning. Its extensive and intensive use, together with new ways of accessing and using the internet efficiently, has created a demand for skilled ICT specialists. ICT specialists are defined here as people whose main job involves ICT and who are capable of dealing with a wide range of tasks concerning corporate ICT systems.

In today's companies, specialised ICT skills are essential to the effective use of ICT in business processes (e-business) and commercial transactions that are carried out electronically (e-commerce).

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Figure 1: Enterprises employing, recruiting and having hard-to-fill vacancies for ICT specialists, by economic activity, EU-28, 2018 (% of enterprises)
Source: Eurostat (isoc_ske_itspen2) and (isoc_ske_itrcrn2)

Employment and recruitment of ICT specialists

One in 5 enterprises employed ICT specialists

ICT specialists are employed across all sectors of the economy. Almost all companies are using ICT, and some may even have their own IT departments. ICT-enabled solutions that require specialists to develop, adapt, maintain or support IT systems may include:

  • Web solutions for enterprises' websites and e-commerce
  • Enterprise resource planning
  • Supply chain management
  • Customer relationship management
  • The use of cloud computing services
Figure 2: Enterprises employing, recruiting and having hard-to-fill vacancies for ICT specialists, by size class, EU-28, 2018 (% enterprises)
Source: Eurostat (isoc_ske_itspen2) and (isoc_ske_itrcrn2)

In addition, some ICT specialists have the relevant skills for specifying, evaluating or performing activities related to innovation or research. As can be expected, enterprises in the ICT sector employ and recruit more ICT specialists than other sectors.

In 2018, one in five EU enterprises employed ICT specialists (20 %), the highest proportion being observed among enterprises in the information and communication sector (74 %). Overall, this sector accounts for almost 4 % of all EU enterprises with at least 10 persons employed. For other sectors, the percentage of enterprises employing ICT specialists ranged from 8 % in construction to 31 %, in professional, scientific and technical activities (Figure 1).

The percentage of large enterprises employing ICT specialists (75 %) is more than 4 times higher than that for small and medium sized enterprises (18 %) (Figure 2).

Enterprises in all countries reported difficulties in recruiting ICT specialists

During 2017, 9 % of EU enterprises recruited or tried to recruit ICT specialists and 5 % reported having hard-to-fill vacancies for jobs requiring relevant ICT skills. In all, 53 % of companies that recruited or tried to recruit ICT specialists in 2017 reported difficulties in filling vacancies (Table 1).

In line with the statistics on enterprises employing ICT specialists, the information and communication sector dominated the proportion of EU enterprises recruiting such specialists (54 %). However, there was a much lower demand for ICT specialists in the rest of the economy. The percentage of EU enterprises outside this sector, that recruited ICT specialists in 2017, ranged from 3 % in construction to 15 % in professional, scientific and technical activities.

Table 1: ICT specialists in enterprises, 2018, (% of enterprises)
Source: Eurostat (isoc_ske_itspen2) and (isoc_ske_itrcrn2) and (isoc_ske_ittn2)

44 % of large EU enterprises recruited or tried to recruit personnel for jobs requiring specialist ICT skills, that is more than 5 times the proportion reported by small and medium sized enterprises (8 %). Both groups of enterprises reported hard-to-fill vacancies of at least half the proportions for recruiting ICT specialists (27 % for large enterprises, 4 % for SMEs).

Enterprises in all EU countries reported difficulties in recruiting ICT specialists (Figure 3). For the enterprises that recruited specialists in 2017, the ratio of those reporting hard-to-fill vacancies to those that did not report difficulties in recruitment was highest for Czechia, Austria, Malta, Luxembourg and the Netherlands.

Figure 3: Enterprises that recruited ICT specialists, with and without difficulties in filling vacancies, 2017 (% of enterprises that recruited or tried to recruit)
Source: Eurostat (isoc_ske_itrcrn2)

Training provided to personnel

Nearly one in 4 enterprises provided training to persons employed

Overall in the EU, almost one in four enterprises provided any type of training to develop ICT related skills of their staff (23 %). The highest proportion was observed among enterprises in information and communication industries (62 %). For the other sectors, the percentage of enterprises providing training to their staff ranged from 14 % in construction to 36 % in professional, scientific and technical activities.

During 2017, 10 % of EU enterprises provided their ICT specialists with professional training (Figure 4), while 20 % provided ICT training for other staff. Overall, more enterprises provided training to other personnel than to ICT specialists. This is not the case for the information and communication sector which is the only one that reported a higher percentage for training ICT specialists (53 %) than for other personnel (47 %).

Figure 4: Enterprises that provide training to their persons employed, by economic activity, EU-28, 2017 (% enterprises)
Source: Eurostat (isoc_ske_ittn2)

Almost 7 out of ten large enterprises provided ICT training to their personnel. For this group of enterprises, the share of training provided to ICT specialists (56 %) is nearly as high as that for other persons employed (60 %). SMEs, however, provided ICT training to a larger extent to other persons employed (19 %) than to ICT specialists (9 %) (Figure 5).

Figure 5: Enterprises that provide training to their persons employed, by size class, EU-28, 2017 (% enterprises)
Source: Eurostat (isoc_ske_ittn2)

ICT functions performed in enterprises

Most EU enterprises outsourced their ICT functions

In 2018, repondents were asked to report on who mainly performed ICT functions for the enterprise, own employees or external suppliers. The relevant ICT functions concerned the following:

  • Maintenance of ICT infrastructure (servers, computers, printers, networks)
  • Support for office software
  • Development/support of business management software/systems (e.g. ERP, CRM, HR, databases)
  • Development/support of web solutions (e.g. websites, apps, e-commerce solutions)
  • ICT security and data protection (e.g. security testing, training on security, resolving ICT incidents)
Figure 6: ICT functions performed in enterprises, by function, all enterprises, EU-28, 2017 (% enterprises)
Source: Eurostat (isoc_ske_fct)

When broken down by the type of operation, for which ICT skills were employed, data showed that in 2017 EU enterprises reported the highest share of outsourcing for maintenance of ICT infrastructure (59 %), closely followed by functions related to ICT security and data protection (54 %), development of web solutions (50 %) and support for web solutions (49 %) (Figure 6). Only for one function, namely the support for office software (such as word processors or spreadsheets), dedicated to producing documents, presentations, worksheets, graphs, charts, etc.) the share of enterprises that mainly used own employees (43 %) was higher compared to those that mainly used external suppliers (41 %).

In large enterprises, however, the situation is very different. Four ICT functions were mainly performed by own employees while for three functions (development of web solutions, support for web solutions and the development of business management software/systems) the share of outsourcing was higher (Figure 7).

Figure 7: ICT functions performed in enterprises, by function, large enterprises, EU-28, 2017 (% enterprises)
Source: Eurostat (isoc_ske_fct)

Source data for tables and graphs

Data sources

The data in this article are based on the results of the 2018 survey on ICT usage and e-commerce in enterprises.

The statistics were obtained from enterprise surveys conducted by national statistical authorities in 2018. The statistical observation unit is ‘the enterprise’, as defined in Regulation (EEC) No 696/1993. The survey covered enterprises with at least 10 persons employed.

Enterprises are broken down by size: small (10-49 persons employed), medium (50-249) and large (250 or more). In 2018, 158 000 out of 1.6 million enterprises in the EU-28 were surveyed. Of these 1.6 million enterprises, approximately 83 % were enterprises with 10-49 persons employed (small), 14 % with 50-249 (medium) and 3 % with 250 or more (large).

The survey covered enterprises in the NACE Revision 2 economic sections C to N and group 95.1 (repair of computers and communication equipment) except section K. Figures by economic activity refer to the following selected economic sectors:

  • manufacturing;
  • electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply; water supply; sewerage, waste management and remediation activities;
  • construction;
  • wholesale and retail trade; repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles;
  • transportation and storage;
  • accommodation;
  • information and communication;
  • real estate activities;
  • professional, scientific and technical activities; and
  • administrative and support service activities (excluding 'travel agency, tour operator and other reservation service and related activities')

Data presented in this article may differ from the data in the database on account of updates made after the data extractions used for this article. Data in the database are organised according to the survey year. Data in tables shown as ‘:’ refer to data that are unavailable, unreliable, confidential or not applicable. Unreliable data are included in the calculation of European aggregates.

Figure 1, 2 and Table 1: Data on enterprises that recruited or tried to recruit ICT specialists, had hard-to-fill vacancies and provided training refer to the calendar year 2017.

Context

Competitiveness, innovation and job creation in European industry are being increasingly driven by the use of new information and communication technologies. This needs to be backed up by a workforce that has the knowledge and skills to use these new technologies efficiently. Given the transversal role of digital competences in the economy, a shortage of ICT specialists and workers with advanced ICT skills could hamper Europe’s growth objectives. The European Commission is working on a number of initiatives to boost ICT skills in the workforce. This is part of the Commission’s broader agenda for better skills upgrading, anticipating skills demand and matching skills supply to demand.

The Commission is launching the Digital Skills and Jobs Coalition to develop a large digital talent pool and ensure that individuals and the labour force in Europe are equipped with adequate digital skills.

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Database

Digital economy and society (isoc)
ICT usage in enterprises (isoc_e)
Summary of EU aggregates (isoc_ci_eu_en2)
Digital skills (isoc_sk)
ICT specialists (isoc_sks)
ICT competence and demand for ICT skills in enterprises
Enterprises that employ ICT specialists (isoc_ske_itspen2)
Enterprises that recruited or tried to recruit ICT specialists (isoc_ske_itrcrn2)
Enterprises - ICT functions performed (isoc_ske_fct)
ICT training (isoc_skt)
Enterprises that provided training to develop/upgrade ICT skills of their personnel (isoc_ske_ittn2)

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Methodology