- On 30/01/2018
EU is in a turning point for what concerns digital transformation. Europeans currently face the following challenges:
- Digital Skills Shortage: The ICT sector accounts for 5% of employment in the EU and there will be 900,000 vacancies in the Digital sector by 2017, representing a clear need to increase the quantity of graduates with these skills. However, over 50% of senior ICT managers also report that CS graduates lack the necessary combination of technical, business and interpersonal skills. The ICT sector is also one of the most R&D intensive sectors and there are projections of one million new research jobs by 2020 in the EU3.
- Gender Imbalance: Only 29 of every 1000 women hold an ICT degree (as compared to 95 men) and only 4 in 1000 women work in the ICT sector. Efforts to address the digital skills shortage are accessing only half of the population. Perception of careers in the ICT sector and the nature of the CS curricula on offer are major factors.
- Non-Software SMEs: ICT-enabled innovation represents up to 25% of total innovative output in the EU. OECD research from 18 countries showed that young SMEs are primarily responsible up to 42% of total job creation over the last decade13. Given that SMEs represent 90% of all businesses in the EU14, there is a need to ensure that SMEs in all sectors can access software innovation expertise in cost–effective way.
- International Experience: The ICT sector is inherently international but students are underrepresented in European Poles of ICT Excellence: The ICT sector is clustered in global hubs which are characterised by a strong skills pool in HE, research institutes, entrepreneurial ICT firms, R&D departments and highly-skilled industry professionals and university scientists.
In this framework Eurocrea Merchant participates in the HUBLINKED project, an initiative funded by the Erasmus Plus programme – Knowledge Alliance. By creating a sustainable strategic network of major European ICT hubs, the goal of HubLinked is to strengthen Europe’s software innovation capacity by learning from regions of proven ICT strength and sharing that knowledge will all regions. HubLinked will (i) improve the effectiveness University-Industry (U-I) linkages between computer science faculty and different types of companies (ii) develop global software innovator graduates that can work in any sector and (iii) upskill academic and industry staff to engage in U-I linkages for software innovation.
Although the ICT sector is a major economic sector in Europe, HubLinked also includes SMEs in the non-software sector to provide a ‘low-cost low-commitment’ mechanism to prototype software innovations. An established partnership of large, industry-focused computer science faculties have come together with a representative mix of industry partners (large multinationals, SMEs in both the software and other sectors and start-up companies). HubLinked partnership can directly reach over 3,000 companies, 12,000 students and 400 staff during the lifetime of the project. HubLinked will create a network of European ICT professionals that will increase the innovation capacity and competitiveness of European software hubs and help underpin education, research, innovation, trade and economic development for years to come.
Stay tuned for more info and updates!