e-Skills for Jobs 2014: EU places high priority on digital job creation


Greek Presidency of the EU places high priority on digital job creation and boosting eSkills in order to tackle unemployment at home and across the EU.

Athens, (May 6, 2014) – ICT is helping Greece turn the corner after experiencing the worst economic downturn in a generation. The Greek government will use its six months at the helm of the European Union to maximize this trend, not only for its own unemployed workforce, but for all 28 EU member states.
Greece offers a dramatic example of the skills gap in practise. While its overall unemployment rate remains the highest in Europe at over 24%, many world famous technology firms are lining up to hire staff to fill new jobs they are looking to create in Greece.
They are attracted to Greece partly because of the country’s excellent reputation for training electronic engineers. But in spite of this, ICT jobs account for just 1.6% of total employment. The average for the EU is 3.4%, leaving Greece with one of the smallest ICT sectors – as a proportion of the wider economy-  in Europe.
While around a quarter of Greece’s workforce is unemployed, the number of ICT job vacancies is actually rising,” said John Higgins, Director General of DIGITALEUROPE.
We see this trend at the European level too – stubbornly high levels of general unemployment, but at the same time a shortage of applicants for technology-oriented positions. This is the skills gap that the technology industry is trying to help governments to address,” he added.
An estimated 1,200 ICT jobs remained unfilled in Greece last year, according to the researcher Empirica. That figure is expected to rise to 1,800 by 2020.
Many household names from the ICT industry are setting up operations in Greece. Microsoft recently set up a call centre, creating 750 jobs in the process. Huawei is considering opening an innovation centre in Athens. IBM has recently announced the creation of a centre of excellence for big data and business analytics, also in the Greek capital. HP is creating a call center for its dealers and partners in the region, creating 100 jobs. And SAP has announced plans to create an Innovation & Value Engineering Centre in Greece.
The positive impact on jobs from ICT doesn’t only come from the big corporations. Last year saw a sharp rise in the number of start-ups in Greece: 144, compared with less than 15 just two years earlier when the crisis was at its peak. The vast majority of these new enterprises are technology-oriented firms.
The Greek government has thrown its support behind the European Commission’s e-Skills for Jobs 2014 campaign, because it sees technology as an important part of the fight to bring down unemployment.
The e-Skills for Jobs 2014 campaign is part of the Commission’s Grand Coalition for Digital Jobs - an EU-wide multi-stakeholder partnership designed to address a shortfall in the number of European citizens with ICT professional skills, and to exploit the employment creation potential of ICT.
The main focus of the campaign is to raise awareness of the education, training, jobs, and other opportunities that are available to people with e-Skills – those who know how to effectively use digital technologies. It will inform students, unemployed people, ICT professionals and SMEs about the vast range of opportunities that ICT-related jobs present During the course of 2014, the e-Skills for jobs campaign will run in 30 EU countries*.
The campaign is coordinated by DIGITALEUROPE and European Schoolnet in conjunction with hundreds of national and pan-European partners including, SEPE (partner for Greece), the European Centre for Women and Technology, JA-YE, Telecentre Europe and many major IT industry partners.
While Europe struggles with a prolonged economic downturn, e-Skills are more essential than ever to help get Europe’s economy back on its feet. People with strong e-Skills will play a central role in making Europe an innovative and competitive environment.
Marc Durando, Executive Director of European Schoolnet, said: "The latest data indicate that secondary school students are still insufficiently aware of the importance of IT skills for their future jobs***. We are committed to ensuring that Europe’s young people are prepared to engage in Europe digital future and be equipped to work in the digital age.”
Find out more about e-Skills Week here: http://eskills-week.ec.europa.eu 
Download this press release (pdf).
*Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, UK.
*** European Schoolnet Briefing Paper number 7 (pdf) - More Briefing Papers: www.eun.org/observatory/surveyofschools


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