Europe's Digital Skills Gap to Narrow over Five Years

According to research from Empirica, the shortage of trained candidates for digital jobs in 2020 will not be as bad as previously expected.

Research from the analyst firm suggests that the number of unfilled digital jobs in Europe will be 756,000 by 2020, compared with the 820,000 forecast earlier this year.

This correlates with a growth in the number of students choosing to study ICT across Europe - a subject that had been becoming increasingly unpopular in previous years.

The director general of DigitalEurope, John Higgins, said the narrowing of the skills gap is "excellent news after eight years of hard work led by the European Commission to address this problem."

He added: "We certainly shouldn't be complacent. Over three quarters of a million unfilled digital jobs in 2020 is still a big problem that will require more work to address."

The UK aims to tackle the drop in students taking ICT, science, technology, engineering or maths (stem) subjects by making computing a mandatory subject to be taught between the ages of five and 16.

The UK government hopes this will increase the number of young people growing up with basic digital skills in the UK.

Organisations such as DigitalEurope and EuropeanSchoolnet have worked alongside the European Commission to set up the eSkills campaign to encourage digital transformation and adoption of digital skills.

The European Commission's head of entrepreneurship and SMEs, Kirsi Ekroth Mansilla, said: "To fully benefit from the digital transformation, Europe must support the recognition for digital skills and qualifications raise its level of ICT professionalism and develop a pool of talented e-leaders."

Signs of a widening skills gap in Europe have appeared over the past five years prompting the European Commission to urge more people to learn coding skills, to avoid missing out on digital jobs and increasing the skills shortage by 2020.

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