29 Mar 2013

Job market fails to unleash ICT potential

Hand over keyboard
ICT skills are increasingly important requirement for job-seekers
© Mikhail Popov (stock.xchng)

85-90% of jobs will require Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) skills by 2020, according to the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training. Although internet job searches by unemployed people have increased dramatically in Europe (46% in 2011 according to Eurostat), and significantly reduced unemployment duration in some countries - like the USA - employers and labour market intermediaries, including public and private services, might not yet be exploiting the full potential of ICT.

These are just some of the conclusions of two new JRC studies on ICT and employability, which argue that more attention should be paid to the role of ICT in this field. Reviewed literature shows that ICT are crucial for employability, as they enable the development of a large set of individual skills, and also allow job seekers to have access to more creative jobs and enhance their career prospects. These findings highlight the importance of digital inclusion and skilling policies, particularly for the most disadvantaged.

From the point of view of employers, ICT diminish recruitment costs, improve communication thanks to a variety of web 2.0 tools, allow communicating real-time information, enable rich media advertisement, and allow access to both passive and proactive candidates. There is sufficient evidence to state as well that ICT can support recruitment and selection, workforce learning and more flexible working patterns - all of which are important factors that contribute to employability.

ICT increase the cost-efficiency and effectiveness of the services offered by labour market intermediaries, including employment services, which are increasingly using these technologies to assess skills and to enhance access to career information and guidance. However, the research finds that the intermediaries still lack adequate skills and tools regarding the effective delivery of online services.

There are still many under exploited opportunities in the use of ICT by labour market intermediaries and employers, and the continued implementation of digital inclusion programmes for jobseekers is key to increasing employability.