EU Member States are increasingly addressing e-Skills shortages

Compared to a previous assessment released in 2010 the e-skills activity index measuring national policy and stakeholder activity by assessing national policies and initiatives in the e-skills domain has increased between 2009 and 2013 from 2.4 to 2.9 (on a 5 point scale). Among the EU Member States we find countries showing high or even very high levels of activity. Of the 27 Member States, 12 have a value of 3 or higher on the 5-point index scale for e-Skills activity.

e-Skills Activity Index: Level of policy and stakeholder activity on e-skills in Europe in 2009 and 2013

Source: empirica 2013 (Gareis, K., Hüsing, T., Bludova, I., Schulz, C., Korte, W.B.: e-Skills: Monitoring and Benchmarking Policies and Partnerships in Europe (Final Report for the European Commission, January 2014) (www.eskills-monitor2013.eu

The most committed and active countries include the United Kingdom and Ireland. Belgium, Germany, Denmark, France, Malta the Netherlands and Sweden also perform strongly in terms of the level of activity for ensuring adequate supply of ICT practitioners on the labour market today and in the future. The range of interventions used is very broad. There are clear indications that the EU Communication on "e-Skills for the 21st Century" and more recently the launch of the "Grand Coalition for Digital Jobs" by President Barroso in March 2013 have triggered Member States to engage in public debates about the e-skills issue and helped them to develop appropriate responses. However, the degree of integration and consistency of policy-making is still limited in several Member States. Most countries lack a master strategy or the topic still does not attract continuous attention in policy-making across the different policy areas concerned. It is striking that especially those European countries showing significant levels of activity in the e-skills domain have the highest share of ICT workers in their workforce and at the same time rank highest on innovation and competitiveness indices like the Networked Readiness Index (NRI) which measures economic capacities to fully leverage ICT for increased competitiveness and development.

e-Skills policy activity and ICT-based competitiveness in Europe 2013

Source: empirica 2013 (Gareis, K., Hüsing, T., Bludova, I., Schulz, C., Korte, W.B.: e-Skills: Monitoring and Benchmarking Policies and Partnerships in Europe (Final Report for the European Commission, forthcoming December 2013)

There are further positive signals since those countries which could be described as ‘low performers’ have started to become active with two of them (Lithuania and Poland) having just started national e-skills programmes as national Grand Coalitions for Digital Jobs as part of the European Commission initiative with the same name. 10 further Member States mainly from Southern and Eastern Europe are lined up for also launching such national programmes.