e-Skills are critical to European innovation and growth. This study analyses the impact of cloud computing, cyber-security and green IT on e-skills requirements.
A high level of e-skills is critical for European competitiveness, innovation and growth, both in the ICT sector itself and across industry. European ICT entrepreneurs need to have the e-skills required to fully exploit the innovation potential of ICTs, and European industries and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) need to be able recruit the best skilled workers.
Nevertheless, alarm bells are ringing; foresight studies indicate that the EU labour market will face a shortage of in excess of a minimum of 384,000 ICT practitioners by 2015. Some scenarios even envisage a shortage reaching 700,000 jobs. In the face of increasing global competition there is a pressing need to ensure that European enterprises have access to an e-skilled workforce, and that ICT practitioners are provided with the right incentives and training opportunities to update their e-skills.
In this context, the European Commission (DG Enterprise and Industry) launched a study in January 2011 to identify and make recommendations for e-skills requirements in the fields of cloud computing, cyber-security and green-IT. Special focus was to be placed on competitiveness, innovation, and the needs of SMEs and start-ups. One of the most fundamental resources to innovation strategies is e-skills. The final report of this study presents best practices and formulates concrete proposals that address e-skills requirements helping the European Union to set out recommendations for follow-up actions at EU and national level. The European Commission plans to adopt an integrated cloud computing strategy in 2012.
The key findings of the report are:
- SMEs are the powerhouse of Europe's economy. They have very different characteristics, yet find themselves increasingly as part of fast-moving value chains. Cloud computing could be a critical factor to maintaining global competitiveness. This might require short-term action to raise awareness and the level of e-Skills.
- Cloud computing is now at the centre of business decisions in the private as well as in the public sector. Forward-thinking ICT practitioners must deploy cloud computing as a business development tool, not just for IT but also to support business transformation and how the company can create value. This will require ICT practitioners in the cloud future to be much more business-minded and apply strictest rules of cyber security to their decisions.
- As cloud computing requires very different core skills from ICT practitioners, it is vital that Europe gives further support to national governments and industry in delivering training solutions for the next generation of ICT practitioners. Students need to be prepared for new rules in their prospective job markets and professionals, who are already in their working, need to be ready for the new cloud world.
- Finally, Europe must be bold in initiating forward-looking systemic reforms in our education and lifelong learning systems. The European e-Competence framework must adopt technological developments.
The consortium carrying out the study consisted of Danish Technological Institute (Denmark) and the Fraunhofer ICT-Group (Germany). Danish Technological Institute and the Fraunhofer ICT-Group is a strong and dedicated consortium with expertise in technological trends and business development in the fields of e-skills. Together they have solid knowledge of how to strengthen the competitiveness and innovation of European enterprises, in particular SMEs.
During the course of the 12-month study, the team engaged the European e-skills community through interviews and events. The findings and data collection are based on desk research of recent reports and studies from the EU, Asia and the USA. Over 100 interviews with experts and stakeholders were also undertaken.
For further information about the project please contact:
Project Manager Nicolai Søndergaard Laugesen
Danish Technological Institute
Tel. +45 72 20 29 71
To read more on European Commission's initiatives on this topic:
- Towards a cloud computing strategy:
- e-Skills for the 21st Century: