EU officials warn that the EU is still failing to meet digital skills requirements
Despite the European Union’s efforts to fill the digital skills gap by 2030, EU officials recently warned that a lack of investment in training is stopping the bloc from reaching its objectives.
Experts at the European Commission have pointed out that the EU is still making very slow progress and that there’s a growing need for more support in upskilling and retraining.
The EU’s targets are to have 80% of adults in the EU have basic digital skills by the end of the decade, as well as to have at least 20 million people employed as ICT specialists.
However, the EU isn’t on track to meet these goals, with a recent survey released by Eurostat showing that only 54% of people aged 16 to 74 in the EU had basic digital skills in 2021.
Furthermore, the figures varied greatly. In the Netherlands and Finland, 79% of adults were digitally literate, compared with just 28% in Romania. Additionally, the survey found that only 26% of people in the EU had more advanced digital capabilities.
The EU has recently announced a scheme called the European Pillar of Social Rights, and this includes providing at least 60% of EU adults with digital training by the end of 2030. But, it was reported in 2021 that the share of people taking part in this training was only 10.8%.
According to Georgi Dimitrov, head of the unit on digital education at the Commission: “If we extrapolate the growth of the last five years, and we look forward to 2030, we’re not going to reach our targets.
We need to promote an effective digital education ecosystem […] and we have to constantly and continuously develop digital skills because they are [changing] all the time.”
However, retraining and upskilling can be challenging for adults for a variety of reasons, including financial hardship and a lack of social support.
Researchers recently found that around 30% of workers have fears about losing their jobs because of changes in technology, but the prospect of being able to adjust by retraining is still a concern for many people, as well as the lack of social protection and non-standard contracts.