Europe to face large e-skills gap by 2015: experts

13:23, March 03, 2010      

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European countries will suffer severe e-skills shortages in five years as the education system fails to fit the fast-growing digital industry, IT experts and EU politicians warned Tuesday when attending Hanover's CebIT, the world's top IT trade fair.

In a press conference held at CeBIT, high-level representatives from three IT-related groups, which were DigitalEurope, an European information and communications technology (ICT) industry association, and BITKOM, the German ICT industry association, as well as a Bonn-based consulting firm "empirica," presented facts and figures about Europe's digital future.

European labor market may face a great shortfall of 384,000 ICT practitioners by 2015, while only 10 percent of economic sector would not require e-skills at that time, the three groups said, according to a foresight study.

"Europe could lose an important competitive advantage if we do not fully capitalized on the ability of the digital industry," Bridget Cosgrave, Director-general of DigitalEurope, said. "The burning issue for Europe is to build an adequately e-skilled workforce."

The digital industry has the capacity to create 400,000 new jobs in Europe in the next five years, with the increasing application of ICT solutions, such as e-health, e-government, e- learning, and e-business, the survey predicted.

However, the numbers of young people who enrolled on computer science have been sliding since 2003 in Europe, causing a decline in graduates.

"Germany is affected strongly by the e-skills gap," Bernhard Rohleder, Director General of BITKOM, said. "Even at the height of the economic crisis, there are 20,000 vacancies for ICT professionals in Germany."

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