e-Skills in Europe – Trends and Forecasts for the European ICT Professional and Digital Leadership Labour Markets (2015-2020)

For Europe, a potential of more than 750,000 new ICT jobs until 2020
The demand for e-skills keeps growing at a tremendous pace. In 2020 the European labour market is projected to grow by more than 670,000 new jobs, but it could absorb another 756,000 ICT practitioners if only sufficient supply were in sight.

These are the key messages of a recent working paper by empirica which published research results showing that demand for e-skills keeps growing at a tremendous pace. The trend in the number of core ICT jobs has been steady for more than a decade, with growth rates averaging at 3% p.a., and the average annual growth in ICT management and analysis jobs even reaching 10% in the last four years. At the same time demand for medium level skilled jobs is declining. As a net effect, Europe has added a significant number of new jobs in ICT year after year. Despite the crisis, vacancy rates in ICT remain high and there is a need to continuously increase the quality and the relevance of e-skills. As graduate figures stagnate, supply from universities does not seem to keep pace.

For the first time empirica analysed a massive set of online vacancy data provided through jobfeed ( ) to estimate the number of open posts for ICT professionals. Based on this big data analysis of job postings in Europe, empirica is now in a position to estimate vacancy figures on a much broader basis than with previous approaches which were survey based. Jobfeed has been developed by Textkernel BV ( ) as a Big Data tool for jobs and provides a database of real time and historical online job data.

Together with Jobfeed, empirica analysed the online job postings that mapped to the definition of ICT jobs and identified 373,000 open posts in October 2015. The excess demand or shortage (calculated as the number of open posts) according to our projections will reach 756,000 in 2020. This figure can best be described as ‘demand potential’ or ‘job potential’ for ICT jobs. It should be seen as a hypothetical figure describing the demand potential for new ICT jobs which could additionally be created in Europe due to e-skills demand likely to occur in the next five years until 2020 if demand were not hampered by supply bottlenecks. Of these 756,000 there are 530,000 potential additional jobs in ICT practitioner occupations and around 226,000 at ICT management level.

Amending the mismatch between the skills available and those demanded for the digital transformation of the economy has been a key priority since the European Commission developed their long term e-skills strategy. While the number of ICT students stagnates, the number of new jobs created and filled has been higher than anticipated. The policy monitoring that has been part of the research shows that Member States are stepping up their efforts to amend the supply of e-skills, set the right framework conditions, give support and incentives to develop digital skills. These efforts seem to start paying off.
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