As the European Union embraces rapid digital transformation, the demand for digital skills is skyrocketing. Digital tools transform businesses, offering global reach and operational efficiency. Despite awareness, only 53% of EU firms invested in digital transformation in 2022. The pandemic accelerated this shift, emphasizing the need for a digitally ready workforce for successful digital transformation. Using the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training (Cedefop)‘s analysis of online job advertisements the policy brief ”Going digital means skilling for digital: using big data to track emerging digital skill needs” explores the evolving landscape of digital skill requirements in Europe
The importance of digital skills for innovation and competitiveness
Digital skills drive innovation, helping organizations adapt to evolving technology. As demand for IT workers surges, companies seek those who can navigate emerging technologies, a digitally skilled workforce is crucial for innovation and competitiveness. However, a significant skills gap, with 70% of EU companies facing a shortage, hampers progress. In 2022, 4.5% of EU firms struggled to recruit IT specialists, particularly in countries like Denmark, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and Austria. The challenge is pronounced in computer programming, consultancy, and information service sectors, impacting over half of the companies. Additionally, 20% of pharmaceutical firms and 17% of those in scientific research report difficulty hiring IT specialists. Bridging this gap aligns with the EU’s digital and skills agenda, fostering competitiveness, employability, and digital inclusion
Going digital means skilling for digital
The policy brief highlights the role of digital skills in fostering economic development and enhancing global competitiveness. Moreover, it stresses the need to quickly put strong digital policies and strategies into action. By strategically investing in the upskilling and reskilling of the workforce, prioritizing the enhancement of educators’ skills, and modernizing education and training systems, we can ensure that the ongoing digital revolution becomes an inclusive force, benefiting all citizens.