A Closer Look

Digital Skills in Europe – Needs greater than the number of graduates

Despite an overall difficult economic situation, the digital sector is expanding rapidly and continuing to create jobs. According to the European Commission, the prospects for employment growth in the sector are estimated at 2% per year on average by the year 2020. A survey report by the Joint Occupations and Skills Observatory for the Digital, Engineering, Consultancy and Events Management Sectors (l’Observatoire paritaire des métiers du numérique, de l’ingénierie, des études et conseil et de l’événement/OPIIEC), published in 2016, notes that companies’ recruitment needs, although diverse, are nevertheless concentrated on the bac + 5 level (i.e. 5 years’ post-secondary education). The focus is mainly on young people graduating from the engineering schools or from universities specialising in information technologies.

And indeed, according to a 2016 inter-ministerial report on training needs and training provision for the digital professions, the sector gives preference to young graduates who have little if any experience and are therefore less expensive to hire but who have particularly high levels of education. Companies seem to pursue a strategy of capturing young people right at the start of their careers in order to establish their loyalty as early as possible. Thus when they are recruiting new personnel, almost half of them contact the grandes écoles and universities directly (compared with less than a quarter across the economy as a whole). Individually or through the intermediary of the sector’s representative bodies, they involve themselves in various ways in the education and training provision. Thus they may take part in lectures and seminars, get involved in the boards of governors of education and training establishments, contribute to the development of the quali cations listed in the national register of vocational quali cations (répertoire national des certi cations professionnelles/RNCP), etc. Their aim is to improve the contents of the degrees and to match them more directly to demand.

After all, almost 80% of companies in the digital sector report they experience di culties in recruiting for skilled jobs (compared with 62% on average). Thus the acquisition and renewal of skills through the recruitment process depend on the ability of higher education institutions to supply the labour market with su cient numbers of high-quality graduates as well as on the ability of companies to make themselves known and to attract new sta . However, according to the same 2016 inter-ministerial report, the number of graduates is not yet su cient to meet requirements and the published job o ers in the sector are not su ciently attractive. The digital sector does, after all, have to deal with competition from other sectors of the economy as well as from foreign companies seeking to recruit graduates with this type of profile.

Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story at  Adapting skills : a challenge digital companies have to meet / Training and employment / publications / accueil – Céreq – Centre d’études et de recherches sur les qualifications

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