The Digital World in 2030. What place for Europe? - European Internet Foundation (EIF) report released

In the chapter on e-skills and competencies the report refers to recent work carried out in European Commission service contracts when stating the “recent modelling based on 2012 data shows that “even the worst scenario sees increasing excess demand in Europe for high-level e-skills, reaching over 900.000 by 2020 in the main scenario. This reflects the huge opportunity for jobs creation generated by new mobile technologies, cloud computing, big data and social business in all industry sectors”, with job growth strongest in highly skilled areas. Moreover, the picture is similar around the world, meaning that Europe will need to compete in the global marketplace for these human resources.

The 2012 e-Skills Manifesto funded by the European Commission called this gap “a problem of epic proportion” and pointed to the “disengagement” of European boys and girls from scientific and technical subjects from late primary and early secondary education, despite their heavy use of the internet – especially girls, who remain dramatically underweighted at academic and professional levels, and in comparison with other leading countries.

At the same time, the e-Skills imperative goes way beyond scientific and technical expertise. As the Manifesto points out, “everybody will need a degree of proficiency, competency and knowledge about the tools of our time, as they are becoming critical to the successful execution of every job function”. Indeed, how else will we leverage our many strengths, without these human resources throughout society? The Manifesto goes on to set out an action agenda demanding the support and active engagement of all stakeholder communities. This agenda is no longer optional for Europe. Joined-up leadership is now essential at all political levels:

  • Increase adoption of the European e-Competence Framework. The e-CF is a component of the European union’s strategy for e-Skills in the 21st Century supported by the European Commission and The Council of Ministers. The Framework supports key policy objectives of the Grand Coalition for Digital Jobs and benefits an ever-growing user community from the EU and across the world.
  • Enhance IT education for non-IT professionals.
  • Create new partnership models between industry and educational institutions.
  • Promote IT to young people, with special focus on the gender gap.

None of the sections of the report pretends to be comprehensive, nor could they possibly be given the actual or prospective digitalisation of just about everything. Rather, once again they reflect the issues, ideas and trends EIF members and guests have chosen to highlight over the course of this project as well as major trends in wider commentary among close observers. And once again the new 15-year horizon – this time 2030 – should not be taken literally. It is an intellectual device, challenging us to ask ourselves whether a particular trend will endure and grow to shape our world decades hence, or whether it is merely an ephemeral blip on our ubiquitous screens, noise in cyberspace signifying nothing (taken from: www.eifonline.org/digitalworld2030).