“Soft skills” essential for employers but missing among young people

The results of the a survey entitled « Closing the Gap Between Business and Education” show that business leaders find young people to lack ‘soft skills’ such as confidence, teamwork, self-motivation, networking and presentation skills. 63 % of respondents said that their countries’ educational systems were not preparing young people with the right skills to enter the workforce and 70 % of respondents said their countries were doing a poor job developing financial and entrepreneurial skills among young people.

The survey was carried out by FreshMindsResearch for JA-YE Europe, which is Europe’s largest provider of entrepreneurship education programmes bringing together businesses, schools and young people.

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Global IT Markets back on Track for strong Growth

The world’s IT markets are back on track for strong growth, reported the European Information Technology Observatory (EITO) at CeBIT, the high tech trade fair, in Hanover. Global sales of IT hardware, software, and IT services will rise by 4.4 percent in 2011 to 1.1 billion euros. « This year, IT spending will far exceed pre-crisis levels. The IT sector is once again acting as the driving force of the business cycle, » said Prof. Dr. August-Wilhelm Scheer, President of the Federal Association for Information Technology, Telecommunications and New Media (BITKOM) at EITO’s press conference in Hanover.
Generally speaking it is emerging countries that are energizing markets led by the BRIC states of Brazil, Russia, India, and China. The IT markets in these four countries are currently growing by an average of 11 percent. But even established, industrialized nations are seeing spending on IT rise again now the crisis is over. In the EU, there is almost 3 percent growth, and in the US more than 4 percent. Japan is the only exception, with just 0.6 percent.

When it comes to the five largest EU countries, Germany leads in terms of growth. In 2011 and 2012, the second-largest European IT market after Great Britain will expand by around 4 percent, with France not far behind. Following at a slightly slower pace are the southern Europeans Spain and Italy, along with Great Britain. Growth in the Italian and Spanish markets in 2011 is less than 2 percent, and is only slightly higher in Britain. These markets will only begin to catch up to France and Germany in 2012 once they achieve growth of around 3 percent. In these three countries, cutbacks are also putting pressure on IT budgets in the public sector – with ensuing repercussions on the IT market.

Internet Entrepreneurs Are Like Professional Athletes, They Peak Around 25

“Consumer Internet entrepreneurs are like pro basketball players,” a venture capitalist told me recently while discussing the prospects for a thirty-something founder, “They peak at 25, by 30 they’re usually done.”

Why? Because young entrepreneurs are more creative and imaginative, and are willing put 100% of their lives into their startups, he said. “It’s not a guess, this is a data driven observation,” says the VC.

He had a number of caveats. First, this only applies to consumer Internet entrepreneurs. Enterprise and hardware startups tend to do better with older founders, where experience (and direct sales experience) matter a lot. And there are plenty of founders that, like Michael Jordan, can peak way beyond 25 (and the peak basketball age is really probably at least a 27). “Those tend to be the repeat success founders,” he said, “the rules don’t apply to them.”

Peak age of startup founders is an endless debate. Vivek Wadhwa says his data shows that older entrepreneurs are more successful, for example. He argues that ageism is more about exploiting young people more than getting value for money.

Other data suggests the opposite. Like this – last year Y Combinator said the average age of their founders is 26. Of course they could have selection bias, but Y Combinator is one of the most data driven investors I’ve heard of. if older people did better, they’d be funding more of them.

At Disrupt in New York in May we’ve got a very cool interview planned. SV Angel says they’ve analyzed deep demographic data for their 500+ investments over the last twelve years or so. It takes years to know how successful a startup will eventually be, so this is particularly valuable data.

Will they agree that Internet startup founders should be looking to make a name for themselves before they hit 30, or give up? We’ll know in a few short weeks.

Source: Techcrunch

Europe takes huge step towards free movement of labour

From 1 May 2011, the entire European labour market will open to Member States who joined the Union in 2004, including the citizens of Hungary, who currently holds the EU Presidency. The fear of many workers migrating from new Member States to the West, have so far proven unjustified; since the opening of the labour market in old Member States has contributed to the economic growth. Free movement of labour is one of the fundamental principles of the EU’s single market, enabling EU citizens to take up employment freely in any other member state. Since certain older Member States of the Union had been wary that workers from countries who joined in 2004 could “flood” their labour markets, so, Member States were given the rights to restrict employment for up to seven years, at their own discretion. This rule was incorporated into the accession document.

Gradual relaxation

Several countries have taken advantage of this option, regarding citizens of eight countries that joined the Union in May 2004, namely the Czech Republic, Estonia, Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Slovakia and Slovenia. Sweden and Ireland, have opened up their labour markets from the very start; and Great Britain only required the simple registration of employees. In 2006 Finland, Greece, Spain, Portugal and Italy, in 2007 Luxembourg and the Netherlands, in 2008 France, and in 2009 Belgium and Denmark lifted the restrictions.

Only two Member States – Austria and Germany – maintained the restriction for the longest permissible term, until 30 April 2011, claiming that the authorisation of free employment would cause major labour market disorders. Also, despite the general restrictions, both Austria and Germany were allowed to, under bilateral agreements, the employment of a certain number of citizens coming from the newly accessed countries. Owing to such agreements, approximately 28,000 Hungarian citizens worked in Austria and about 13,000 in Germany from the beginning of 2011. Also, states were already allowed provide free employment in certain sectors, which was effected by a chronic shortage of labour force.

Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein, Switzerland

The single market also comprises of three countries who are not members of the Union, but hold membership in the European Economic Area (EEA). Of these countries, Iceland lifted the restrictions in 2006 and Norway in 2009, while Liechtenstein will be opening its labour market together with Austria and Germany. Switzerland, which is a member neither of the EU nor of the EEA, will terminate it presently used quota system at the end of April; however, it will be entitled to restore the restrictions until 31 May 2014, in justified cases.

None of these countries imposed any restrictions on Cyprus or Malta, who also joined the EU in 2004; nor did the eight other new Member States have restricted employment to citizens coming from the rest of the Member States.

Fears remained unjustified

Some of the older Member States could sense the concerns from the other Member States within the Union, regarding migrants from Eastern Member States, could potentially flood the labour market, bringing down wages and triggering unemployment. This was however proven unfounded. Migration to the West, from countries who joined the Union in 2004, fell way behind the expectations, as the number of migrants actually increased from 900,000 to approximately 1.9 million, between 2003 and 2009. The lowest count of migrants was given by Hungary and the Czech Republic; while most of them had moved from Poland and Lithuania.

The migrants are typically young people working in positions, which requires low to medium level qualification – although in many cases their actual qualifications are higher. According to experiences so far, labour force migration has proven to be temporary in most cases. For example, half of the employees from new Member States, who came after 2004, to Great Britain and Ireland, have already returned home, partly owing to the economic recession.

GDP has increased

According to calculations, the flow of labour force following the enlargement of 2004, has increased the EU’s GDP by 0.11% in the short term, between 2004 and 2007; and this growth is expected to a further rise of 0.2% in the long run. By fulfilling the labour force demands of the host states, workers from new Member States, have significantly contributed to the sustainable economic development. The labour force movement following the enlargement, has not resulted in significant labour market distortions, and its impact on the welfare services and finances of the host countries has been minimal.

In certain Member States, like Poland, the Baltic states and Romania, remittances of foreign workers have significantly contributed to the domestic production of the home countries. In these countries, the migration of the citizens of new Member States have mitigated unemployment, but have also caused a decrease in the number of labour forces in several sectors. It is a further problem, that typically, young people choose to seek employment abroad.

Bulgaria, Romania

In the case of citizens of Romania and Bulgaria, who joined the Union in January 2007, the other 25 Member States are still allowed to enforce restrictions. Similarly to the enlargement of 2004, a temporary term of up to seven years applies to these two countries; which is due to expire on 31 December 2013. Even so, several Member States have decided not to restrict the employment of citizens from Romania and Bulgaria. Accordingly, they can also freely enter the labour markets from the following countries: Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Slovakia and Slovenia

Source: Hungarian Presidency of the Council of the European Union

Improving training offers for Web Marketers, Web Sellers, Usability Specialists, Online Community Managers and Internet Hotline Operators across EU

The e-Jobs Observatory platform now includes a section on e-Jobs Profiles to provide information about ongoing work on e-jobs descriptions. The first five profiles have been generated by the EQF i-Serve project, and are based on the e-Competences Framework of CEN.
The page is work in progress and more e-jobs profiles will be added in the near future. You are invited to comment on the profiles.


E-jobs 2.0, The true revolution !

Internet jobs have spread from internet specialised companies to all organisations, even SMEs. It is now common that one or several staff members are working on internet jobs in companies across activities & sectors, especially in companies under 20 employees. This is a total revolution, albeit these jobs are often part-time jobs with many employers. Job offers are not published officially because too much applications are received by company managers, so recruitment is done through informal contacts and personal networks.
See an article published in the French language on Le Cercle Les Echos.

Community manager, e-business manager, SEO manager and Internet Governance manager on Michael Page´s new-jobs guide

Among other new jobs, several Internet-related jobs are described on Michael Page´s New Jobs Guide 2010.

The guide provides:

* The definition and responsibility of each position,
* the skills and qualifications,
* training and experience possible
* remuneration of such trades,
* developments and trends,
* the types of employers,
* internationalization.

See:Le Guide Des Nouveaux Metiers par Michael Page

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