More than 500,000 IT jobs are going begging in Europe due to the skills shortage, according to a European Commission report.
Failure to address the acute problem will ?carry a heavy price? for countries within the European Union in terms of industry growth and competitiveness, warned the report.
The Commission said that the EU needs to urgently encourage more IT start-up companies and expand training schemes in schools and colleges as well as in the workplace.
The report underlined the huge potential for IT businesses, citing the European Union?s audiovisual market as an example. This is expected to expand by 70 per cent by 2005, creating 300,000 new jobs.
The EC is not the only organisation to draw attention to the skills drought. In September, Microsoft issued a report estimating that there will be around 1.6 million unfilled IT jobs by 2002. Such a skills shortage would seriously undermine the capacity of Europe?s businesses to adopt new technologies, especially the Internet.
The report highlighted the fact that a huge number of skilled IT workers had been drafted in to deal with the millennium bug and the switch to European currency. This has left no slack for training a broader IT workforce.
Around four million people currently work in the IT industry in the European Union.
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