Employment issues like the increasing lack of qualified talent, especially in the IT (Information technology) sector, are at the top of most European Governments agendas nowadays, and a subject we at Moving-ON follow closely. After all, if there is no skilled talent to fill certain job profiles, we will have less top talent to help you move around the world. Evidence of this mismatch is all around, but is effective action being taken by public and private entities?
The European Commission’s Grand Coalition for Digital Jobs, a multi-stakeholder partnership to tackle the lack of digital skills in Europe and the several hundred of thousands of unfilled ICT (Information and communications technology) – related vacancies, was launched in March 2013. Their forecasts predict that Europe might face a shortage of up to 900,000 ICT professionals by 2020, risking its potential for growth and digital competitiveness. The Coalition’s goal is to start to increase the supply of ICT practitioners by 2015, so as to ensure a sufficient number of them in Europe in the near future.
In a an article published this week, Relocate Magazine’s David Sapsted focuses on recent concerns of a skills shortage in the UK and calls for an overhaul of the visa system to allow easier access to the country for skilled workers, following publication of the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) and KPMG Report on Jobs, showing a lack of suitable candidates for jobs. Sapsted refers that “Although the number of unemployed in the country remains above two million, research by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) and KPMG found that the pool of qualified candidates available to fill permanent jobs last month shrank at its fastest pace for more than 16 years.” IT was one of the most affected sectors with roles in highest demand being in business analysis, cloud, digital media, e-commerce, games technology, Java, senior developers, PHP and project managers.
Jeannette Weisschuh, Director of Economic Progress, Corporate Affairs at HP, reinforces the problem in a blog article “Better together: collaborating to close the e-skills gap”, reminding us that “it seems incredible that at a time when there are more than 5 million unemployed young people in Europe, companies continue to experience difficulty hiring suitably skilled staff, especially in the IT industry.” She also highlights that if we allow this mismatch to continue we seriously threaten Europe’s future competitiveness, plus the fact that many young people, particularly young women, don’t see IT as an attractive career option.
One of the answers concerned stakeholders are supporting is the CSR Europe’s Skills for Jobs, a campaign launched last year that is mobilizing CSR Europe’s 5,000-strong member network, “bringing together policy makers, education providers and technology businesses, to see how individual e-skills initiatives can be strengthened through stronger collaboration and to find better ways to scale the most promising solutions.” But and as Weisschuh points out, these programs “can certainly play a strong role in closing the e-skills gap, but with 70% of students currently in secondary education destined to work in jobs that do not even exist yet, it’s clear that more much needs to be done.”