Digital skills in the EU labour market

European Commission figures show that two fifths of the EU workforce have little or no digital skills.

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According to the 2015 Digital Skills Indicator, 21% of Europeans can be considered as having no digital skills (down from 23% in 2012). The figure for the digitally unskilled ranges from just 3% of the population in Luxembourg, to 44% in Bulgaria and Romania.  In eight countries (Portugal, Poland, Croatia, Cyprus, Italy, Greece, Bulgaria and Romania), 30 % or more of the population have no digital skills.

Digital skills transform existing roles – and create new ones.  But digital innovation is contributing to wage inequalities between the skilled and unskilled.  And the unemployed find digital skills gap harder to bridge than the rest of the population.  The level of digital skills is higher among the European workforce than with the entire population.  Eurostat data states that just 13% of the labour force has no digital skills.

ICT specialists

ICT employment in Europe has grown by over 4% a year on average since 2004. However, despite continued high levels of unemployment, there could be over 750,000 unfilled jobs in the European ICT sector by 2020.  The largest ICT professional skills gaps are to be found in Germany, the United Kingdom and France.

EU action

The EU has been prioritising skills gaps since 2008.  The 2010 the Digital Agenda explored digital competence and set out indicators to measure the digital performance of the member states.  The 2013 Grand Coalition for Digital Jobs has now been followed by the 2016 New Skills Agenda which sets out to improve the quality of skills training and to make better use of the skills available across Europe.

Source: European Parliament.