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New research shows that future IT professionals need career paths and more IT-focused training to give EU competitive edge

Brussels, September 2011:

A worrying picture of Europe’s future emerges from new research showing that as the population ages and the demand for skilled IT professionals increases, the flow of fresh, young talent into the field of IT is sadly lacking. The lack of career paths damage the attractiveness of the IT profession for new entrants, while continuous professional development is needed for established professionals.

Europe’s chances at becoming a smart, sustainable and inclusive economy are severely threatened by the lack of Europeans with the right skills. As ICT pervades all industries, companies rely increasingly on technology for productivity and to compete globally. Yet the cost of IT project failures is estimated at €4.5 trillion worldwide, and with over half of IT projects running over budget - IT professionals are inextricably linked with Europe’s ability to thrive and compete globally. Until now there has been little information on what e-competences are currently held by IT professionals in Europe.   

The Council of European Professional Informatics Societies (CEPIS) has carried out pioneering research into the actual e-competences of IT professionals across Europe and has just published the European report[1]. The findings show that European IT professionals are ageing with a lack of young talent entering the IT profession; there is a clear need for further initiatives to promote the IT profession among young people. Further, only one out of every six IT professionals who responded is female, indicating that all countries need to urgently address this gender imbalance and increase the participation of women in IT careers.

Overall only one fifth of IT professionals who participated in the research actually had the right e-competences for their IT career profile. The report also shows that a significant proportion of IT professionals do not have an IT-focused educational background and as a result continuous professional development for IT professionals is needed, through the completion of IT certifications for example.

Developing and identifying the e-competences of IT professionals in Europe can help towards better matching the skills of our labour market to future jobs. More importantly knowing the e-competences of IT professionals can enable European employers, industry, policymakers, and educators to develop and implement a vision to manage the mismatches and shortfalls that hinder Europe’s competitiveness and productivity.

Almost 2000 IT professionals in 28 countries across greater Europe participated in the CEPIS Professional e-Competence Survey. The European report by CEPIS compares all countries involved in the survey and creates a picture of the overall status of e-competences in Europe at the moment. The survey is a web-based self-assessment tool[2], based on the European e-Competence Framework (e-CF[3]) and uses 18 IT career profiles recognised by the labour market.

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