Digital skills to boost innovation Digital skills to boost innovation

ICTs are the single most important drivers of innovation and growth for national and regional economies across all sectors. More than 75% of the value added created by the Internet is in traditional industries. 55% of ICT practitioners work outside the ICT sector itself. In order to foster productivity in the private sector and public administration, the purchase of ICT equipment, software and broadband is not enough. Attaining the objective of enhanced use of ICT requires a combination that includes measures to improve digital skills.

In the EU as a whole, demand for ICT practitioners (i.e. people working mostly in ICT) is increasing by 100,000 to 150,000 jobs per year, but supply is not following. As a result, there is a shortage of ICT practitioners, estimated to reach up to 825,000 by 2020. Beyond that, digital skills are needed throughout the workforce. Already more than half of employed people in the EU use a computer at work and most jobs already require some level of digital skills.

From a potential investor perspective, the availability of digital skills in a region is a key factor in deciding on the location of investment of any but the most basic industries.