Skills for the Digital Era

Skills for the Digital Era

The essential requirement for any organisation to run in a highly digital manner has drastically increased the demand for digital jobs.

This importance is so pronounced that the EU has given this due importance and has been organising various important initatives to give any person the chance to enhance their digital competence. eSkills4Jobs 2016 is an important initiative in this direction.

eSkills for Jobs 2016, part of the EU eSkills strategy, is a major cross-sector, multi-stakeholder campaign of the European Commission, involving over 650 organisations across Europe including companies, associations, education and training bodies and NGOs.

The aim of the campaign is to raise awareness of the need for citizens to improve their command of information and communication technology (ICT) skills for work. It also aims to encourage people to develop their digital skills and increase their success in today’s job market.

In essence the campaign is a response to the growing demand for ICT-skilled professionals which is currently not met, despite high levels of unemployment in Europe.

The provision of digital jobs and highly skilled workers is a requisite for the success of the Digital Single Market (DSM).

It is the key component of the third pillar of the DSM strategy ‘Digital as a driver for growth’. The campaign therefore forms part of the framework of promoting and working to make the DSM a reality in Europe.
With ICT set to become the future dominant industry, new digital job opportunities are nowadays required in abundance and this trend is bound to grow further.

According to, there will be over 750,000 vacancies in the European ICT sector by the year 2020.
Besides this, every single sector nowadays needs ICT professionals and practitioners with a competent level of ICT intelligence. This compliments the fundamental requirements for digital jobs.

According to a 2015 report by T. Hüsing, W. B. Korte and E. Dashja, demand for highly skilled ICT occupations will rise by an annual average of 4.6 per cent until 2020, and this reality has still not been sufficiently understood. There are already many unfilled vacancies for ICT experts in companies involved in sectors such as financial services, energy, automotive, retail, manufacturing, creative services and many others.

Besides all this there also so many benefits to look forward to if you are a person looking for a job in ICT.

Apart from the fact that ICT professionals tend to earn more than other categories of workers, certain ICT positions such as big data analysts (some companies call them data scientists) demand as much as 31 per cent higher salaries than the average IT professional.

App development is also an area that has been booming for some time in Europe and can, in fact, be big business – the sector will employ 4.8 million people in Europe by 2018 and cloud computing will create another 1.6 million jobs by 2020.

According to Computer World, the top 10 skills for IT professionals in 2016 will be the following: IT architecture, programming and app development, project management, big data, business intelligence, tech support, database admin, security, cloud and web development.

The EU is committed to investing in digital innovation hubs in every region in Europe.

The European Commission will invest €500 million in digital innovation hubs so that every industry, large or small, high-tech or not, can get access to knowledge and testing facilities in the latest digital technologies.

These centres of excellence would be based in technical universities or research organisations and should provide companies, in particular SMEs, with access to facilities for digital innovation; supply advice on potential sources of funding or finance; make available spaces for testing and experimentation; and help workers find the necessary skills and training.

Successful hubs in Europe include the micro-tech cluster in southern Germany where institutes like Fraunhofer and university labs play an essential role, or the Grenoble digital innovation eco-system in France around institutes like the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) or the French National Institute for Research in Computer Science and Control (INRIA).

The EU is doing everything possible to promote digital skills at all levels, for re-skilling, and for lifelong learning across Europe and its regions.

Europe is a happening place to be for ICT.

Article written by Carm Cachia, executive coordinator, eSkills Malta Foundation, and published by the Times of Malta on ​the 21 August 2016.