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“Grand Coalition for Digital Jobs” launched by President Barroso in March 2013, it will also be necessary to address the critical need for e-leadership skills.

e-Skills for the 21st Century

The competitiveness and innovation capability of the European industry as well as social cohesion are increasingly dependent on the strategic and efficient use of new information and communication technologies as well as the knowledge, skills, competences and inventiveness of the European workforce and citizens.

There is broad consensus about the crucial importance of e-skills for Europe: e-skills shortages, gaps and mismatches and a digital divide will affect negatively growth, competitiveness, innovation, employment and social cohesion in Europe. As new technologies are developing rapidly, e-skills are increasingly sophisticated and need to be constantly updated. There is a critical need for individuals with creativity, innovation and higher-level conceptual skills.

Improving the availability of e-skills and increasing our talent pool involves actions at EU and national level primarily in education, training, research, industrial and labour policies but also in domains such as immigration and taxation. Based on the Commission’s Communication on “e-Skills for the 21st Century”, the EU long-term e-skills strategy is making good progress with several visible achievements in particular regarding ICT practitioners. Foresight scenarios on the supply and demand (2015-2020), an analysis of the impact of global sourcing and a European e-Competences framework are now available as well as many multi-stakeholder partnerships.

To raise awareness on e-skills and the demand for highly skilled digital jobs the Commission has organised the e-Skills Week (26-30 March 2012). This initiative demonstrated a strong mobilisation of stakeholders in a wide range of pan-European and national activities including 2.235 events involving over 1.8 million participants in 37 European countries. A new campaign is planned in 2014.

  eSkills Week logo

While the momentum will be sustained and intensified in the scope of the “Grand Coalition for Digital Jobs” launched by President Barroso in March 2013, it will also be necessary to address the critical need for e-leadership skills. The goals for the future (2014-2020) will be the promotion of ICT professionalism and the generation of a larger talent pool of entrepreneurs, business leaders, managers and advanced users with a focus on the strategic use of new information and communication technologies.


The European Commission adopted on 7 September 2007 a Communication on "e-Skills for the 21st Century: Fostering Competitiveness, Growth and Jobs", presenting a long term e-skills agenda and including five major action lines at EU level (2008-2010).

The Competitiveness Council of Ministers subsequently adopted Conclusions on a long term e-skills strategy on 22-23 November 2007. The Commission also adopted a Communication on e-Inclusion on 8 November 2007.

The Grand Coalition for Digital Jobs was launched by President José Manuel Barroso at the conference “e-Skills and Education for Digital Jobs” on 4 March 2013 in Brussels. In addition, the Employment Package adopted in 2012, the Digital Agenda for Europe (2010) and other flagship initiatives related to innovation, employment, education and industrial policy include references to the EU e-skills strategy.

The initiatives stemming from the implementation of the EU e-skills strategy are mainly financed by the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP), which aims to encourage the competitiveness of European enterprises.
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