A European View on Digitalisation

Digitalization is no longer a sideshow, it has moved to centre stage and is changing the whole game. As the 2015 Gartner CIO Survey (gathering data from 2,810 CIO respondents in 84 countries and all major industries, representing approximately $12.1 trillion in revenue/public-sector budgets and $397 billion in IT spending) has shown, the Digitalization is a reality.  Digital provides continual opportunities for growth, innovation and differentiation and enterprises need to understand this important momentum they are facing to fully exploit their potential.

Despite this, only 45% of Europeans have basic digital skills. To be more precise, according to DG CONNECT F4 report  “EU-wide indicators of digital competence” shows that 23% of the EU population has no digital skills (2012): ranging from 6% in Sweden to 50% in Romania. In ten countries (MT, LT, PT, PL, HR, CY, IT, EL, BG and RO) 30% or more of the population have no digital skills. In four countries (IT, EL, BG, RO) rates are 40% or more. In Italy, with its large population, this equates to almost 18 million people without digital skills.

Considering that to function effectively in the digital society one needs at least medium level or “basic” skills, it can be seen that almost half the EU population (47%) do not attain this level of skill having either “low” or “no” digital skills. Eleven Member States (CZ, SI, LT, PT, PL, HR, CY, IT, EL, BG, RO) have rates of “low” or “no” skills at or above 50% of the population. In Bulgaria (81%) and Romania (85%) most of the population has “low” or “no” skills.

Aggregating these data the result is not optimistic. There may be a lack of up to 500,000 Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) professionals in 2020.

To tackle the lack of digital skills in Europe, the EC launched on December 2016 the Digital Skills and Jobs Coalition, an initiative bringing together all stakeholders and Member States committed to reduce the digital skills gaps in Europe. The Digital Skills and Jobs Coalition brings together Member States, companies, social partners, non-profit organisations and education providers who can make the difference.