350,000 new e-leaders needed in Europe by 2020. Can education and training systems deliver?

Estimates reveal that Europe will need up to 350,000 additional e-leaders by 2020, including replacement demand. This translates into a demand of 40,000 – 73,000 e-leadership skilled individuals per year and presents a strong challenge to the current educational ecosystem.

An empirica survey of enterprises carried out in 2013 identified and quantified enterprises that successfully implemented innovative IT projects, and explored how many employees in and outside of IT departments were initiating and leading these projects. On this basis, the needs for a European e-leadership workforce in the EU28 are estimated at between 568,000 (number of persons successfully proposing innovative projects using IT) and 802,000 (leading projects for innovative projects using IT). About 40% of e-leaders are found within IT departments and 60% outside. E-Leaders in SMEs account for 70-75% of the total.

With demand for 2013 established, forecasting for e-leadership demand must rely on estimated growth rates, because little market data is available for e-leadership vacancies or future hiring. We use an analogy with the most highly skilled ICT positions, for which such estimations exist. IDC and empirica have forecasted demand for highly skilled ICT occupations to rise by an annual average 4.6% until 2020 . It seems reasonable to assume that demand for e-leadership is closely coupled with highest skilled ICT jobs.

Demand in 2015 is estimated to range from 620,000 to 875,000 by applying a 4.6% growth rate, to be between 776,000 and 1,096,000 in 2020.Taking account of expansion (new jobs) demand and replacement (because of retirements etc.) demand, Europe will consequently need between 200,000 and 350,000 additional e-leaders by 2020, or between 40,000 and 70,000 per year. This presents a strong challenge to the current educational and training ecosystem.