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Europe warned over growing ICT skills shortage

25 Jan 2013
European Union map

Europe faces a stark jobs shortage in the ICT sector as the demand for technical workers grows but skilled graduates reduces, the European Commission has warned.

According to new figures there are 700,000 unfilled ICT jobs across Europe and the number of new openings is set to rise by three percent a year. Meanwhile the number of ICT workers entering the market is shrinking.

The issue was raised by the European Commission (EC) during the World Economic Forum in Davos by the vice president of the digital agenda, Neelie Kroes.

She called on all sectors of the market to step up and pledge to address this looming crisis.

"We need joint action between governments and companies to bridge that gap. The ICT sector is the new backbone of Europe's economy, and together we can prevent a lost generation and an uncompetitive Europe," she said.

"So I am expecting concrete pledges by companies, everyone I meet will be getting the same request. The Commission will do its bit but we can't do it alone - companies, social partners and education players - including at national and regional level - have to stand with us."

To date, Nokia, Telefónica, SAP, Cisco, HP, Alcatel-Lucent and ARM are among the firms to have all pledged to act, with a conference scheduled for 4-5 March set to discuss the issue in more detail and call on more firms and organisation to take part in the drive.

The EC said it wants to focus on developing course such as industry-led training, certifying skills, improving school and university curricula and creating an entrepreneur friendly environment for start-ups as ways to proactively tackle the skills shortage.

The EC has also launched a new platform called Startup Europe to offer tools and programmes designed to help people wanting to set up and grow web start-ups in Europe.

The warning over a skills shortage comes as the UK government fleshes out a new IT teaching curriculum to try and kick start renewed interest in the computer sciences to ensure the UK has a strong digital workforce in the future.

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Dan Worth

Dan Worth is the news editor for V3 having first joined the site as a reporter in November 2009. He specialises in a raft of areas including fixed and mobile telecoms, data protection, social media and government IT. Before joining V3 Dan covered communications technology, data handling and resilience in the emergency services sector on the BAPCO Journal

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