« Europe urgently needs the right jobs and skills » – my mission in Davos

« Many people today worry about the economic climate we’re in, and where the jobs are going to come from. But as the tide of unemployment rises, there’s still at least one island of hope – jobs for ICT practitioners, where demand is still strong, and growing. »
Neelie Kroes, Vice-President of the European Commission and European Commissioner for Digital Agenda, was in Davos for the World Economic Forum. While she was there, she set out details on how the European Commission plans to boost Europe’s competitiveness – and fill tomorrow’s ICT jobs – with help from the private sector and others. 

« Jobs for Europe: Sectors with high job-creation potential »

The Commission held a major conference on employment policy, under the title « Jobs for Europe« , on 6-7 September 2012.

 »Jobs for Europe: The Employment Policy Conference – Sectors with high job-creation potential » is the summary report of that conference, within which, the role of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) as determinants of competitiveness is outlined. 

According to the report, ICT is a sector where the lack of skilled workforce (the « ICT skills gap ») is the most acute. Therefore, acquiring, developing and maintaining ICT skills is vital in becoming and remaining employable. 

Moreover, it is one of the sectors of Europe’s economy that has been expanding even during the economic crisis: the number of ICT practitiones has been growing at around 3% a year. If currents trends continue, by 2015 there will be 700,000 unfilled vacancies in the EU for ICT practitiones.

3 rules to recruit, develop and keep IT talents

According to John Reed (Robert Half Consulting), companies can only set up a well functioning recruiting and retention process if they obey the following rules:
1) Individual employee development
– It is important to know, which training the individual employee considers relevant for him-/herself.
– Regular conversations with the employees are necessary as wishes and requirements change.

2) Delegate responsibility and foster teamwork
– Employees aim at taking over responsibility. Managers therefore shall be willing to delegate tasks.
– Find a proper relation between individual and team projects.
3) Support IT experts in developing new capabilities
– Soft Skills are considered most important as they facilitate the cooperation with other colleagues.
– SMEs tend to neglect training measures in their daily business.They shall remember that employess want to train existing and develop new skills.

Green and smart: ICT jobs for tomorrow

Data centres and other ICT infrastructures are increasingly vital for all sectors of the economy, and green growth strategies will require people capable of both greening ICT itself and helping ICT to make other activities greener. ICT skills and employment: New competences and jobs for a greener and smarter economy (the OECD report mentioned above) argues that promoting ICT skills in the green and smart economy pays a double dividend by encouraging job creation and accelerating the transition to green growth.
The jobs wouldn’t just be in the sector itself. Employment in the ICT industry and employment of ICT specialist skills each accounts for up to 5% of total employment in OECD countries, but ICT intensive-users account for more than 20% of all workers in all branches. A car mechanic I know told me that when he started working 30 years ago, the first thing you did when a car came in to the repair shop (apart from telling the client it was a big job and would be ready on Tuesday) was to get your hands dirty poking around the engine or jacking it up, whereas now you start by plugging it in to a computer. And hundreds of other jobs across the whole skills range now need knowledge of ICT as well.

OECD’s report: ICT specialist Skills and Employment

The OECD’s Working Party on the Information Economy (WPIE) is undertaking extensive analysis of the structure, distribution and development of ICT skills and employment. This work particularly focuses on ICT specialist skills and ICT users across the whole economy.
« ICTs and gender » is the title of a report that provides an overview of the gender distribution of ICT and ICT-related employment in OECD countries, and compares these to the gender distribution of total employment. Participation in ICT related education and training, and differences in ICT access and use by gender are also shown. 

« Make it in Germany »: 28,000 job vacancies in the German IT industry

« Make it in Germany » – this is the name of the recently started skilled workers initiative of the German government. By applying five pillars (« activation », « compatability of family & job », « education opportunities for everyone », « qualification », and « integration »), a qualitative basis of skilled workers shall be ensured for the future. BITKOM (Federal Association for Information Technology, Telecommunications and New Media) also welcomes this initiative as they identified 28,000 job vacancies in the German IT-Industry at the moment.

More information about this initiative : http://www.fachkraefte-offensive.de/DE/Startseite/start.html and http://www.bitkom.org/72406_72398.aspx (Accessed: 12/06/2012)

Shortage of ICT workers in many European companies

Europe is facing an “alarming” unemployment level and paradoxically, a shortage of information and communications technology workers. Despite of the crisis, employers are actively looking for technologically proficient workers who also have “soft” business skills and specialized knowledge in areas such as digital media. Recruitment agencies identified this new trend : « Since Mai 2011, the number of job offers posted in our category ‘ICT/Software Development’ has reached the highest level from 18 months« , Hugo Stienstra, Monster Benelux.
ICT skills are critical to the global competitiveness of the European economy and Neelie Kroes, VIce-President of the European Commission responsible for the Digital Agenda, has already underlined the importance of sustaining growth in the technology-driven markets of the future. Many workers are increasingly thinking of turning their back on a career in ICT, which requires that educators, employers, government and recruiters act together to deliver an attractive and accessible career pathway.
In according to this need, the e-Jobs Observatory aims at creating a central point of reference for all activities related to research, training, qualifications, standards, norms, certificates and employment in the field of e-Jobs in Europe. We invite you to check out the e-jobs descriptions and provide comments to the authors.
Source : Inside digital media, 2011 Oct.

The European e-Skills Week 2012 launched!

Organized by DIGITALEUROPE and European Schoolnet, together with the European Commission – DG Enterprise and Industry -, the second European e-Skills week will take place on 26 -30 March 2012.

The event will be focused on showing people how to get jobs and e-skills for life in the digital age. Options for education, training, and opportunities for jobs and growth will be a highlight, and will demonstrate why ICT is so important for any new job.

Preparatory work for the European e-Skills Week 2012 will commence in December 2011 and activities will continue up until May 2012.