European youth believe they lack skills for digital economy

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European youth believe they lack skills for digital economy

Karl Flinders

Almost three quarters (70%) of young people believe they will have to acquire digital skills after leaving education because current education systems do not prepare them for work.

A total of 63% of young people surveyed by think tank ThinkYoung and Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) said they are not prepared for the digital economy.

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The survey, Workplace of the Future, A view from European youth, of 500 18-30 year olds in 28 European countries found that despite the lack of skills the generation entering the workforce welcome digital working.

Neelie Kroes, vice-president of the European Commission, welcomed the research. She said: “The digital revolution will affect and benefit every European – but it is the younger people who will most shape it, and be shaped by it.”

“In order to better meet the needs of coming generations it is incumbent on us as employers, educators and regulators to understand their expectations of what is termed the digital enterprise”.

Over 90 million Europeans in Generation Y will enable the next generation of digital enterprises. N Chandrasekaran, CEO at TCS, said these people must be armed with the right digital skills. “Investment in crucial disciplines such as science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) is vital for Europe’s future competitiveness.”

The report found 86% of young Europeans are willing to move between countries for work, and 87% want to move between industries.

Andrea Gerosa, founder of ThinkYoung, said: “The fact that almost 87% of young Europeans desire to move and work abroad at some point in their life is a testament to the founding principles of the EU, and a strong success we should credit to the European Institutions. 

"Young people across Europe share a positive outlook towards technology and the opportunities it will create for them in the future workplace.”

Research from City & Guilds published last year found 74% of employers in the digital, IT and information services industry were facing a skills crisis.

The research of 1000 UK businesses found almost 50% of digital companies are considering looking abroad for potential candidates. A total of 61% of these feel the need to look abroad because young people in the UK are leaving education without the right skills needed for the sector.

The figure was significantly higher in the digital sector compared to others others. Just 25% were considering looking abroad for new employees in the public sector, 22% in retail and sales, and 24% in hospitality and tourism.


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