A set of recommendations to increase employability and tackle youth employment in ICT and science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) have been released by the European Round Table of Industrialists (ERT).

According to the report Europe will face a shortage of 820,000 ICT professionals by 2020.

The recommendations have been made for European governments, schools, universities and businesses to work together to close the ICT and STEM skills gap. The report suggests a number of measures to boost hard and soft skills.

ERT recommends the modernisation of EU Member State’s education systems and that a more positive image of ICT and STEM should be promoted particularly towards females.Europe skills shortage

The report also recommends a regular EU-level platform involving business, national ministries of education and industry to promote STEM and ICT.

Jean-Pierre Clamadieu, Chairman of the Executive Committee and CEO, said: “Young generations need to be employable, that is, agile in adapting and entrepreneurial in acquiring skills and understanding, to succeed in a job market environment that is rapidly changing, spurred on by a digitally-driven economy.”

The full ERT recommendations for STEM and ICT are as follows:
  • Encourage the modernisation of the EU Member States’ education system

No student should leave school without a basic set of STEM and ICT skills as these are essential to operate and function in a fully digitised information society. Member States must develop and implement national STEM and ICT skills strategies which could include setting national targets.

  • Promote a positive image of STEM and ICT – in particular directed towards girls and women

STEM and ICT related professions are still perceived as unattractive by many young talents. All stakeholders should join forces to promote STEM and ICT as a rewarding domain with exciting career perspectives for men and women.

  • Raise awareness of future and new job profiles

The European Commission, business and research centres should co-operate to identify early on new STEM and ICT job profiles and the associated skill sets. The outcomes should be promoted via a dedicated pan-European and cross-industry campaign, leading to the required changes in university curricula and occupational standards.

  • Support innovative STEM and ICT training initiatives

Specific ICT training courses can address short-term qualification needs and help young unemployed people in particular to find a job. The European Commission and Member States should support such initiatives, for example by providing public funding for training platforms and IT training vouchers for unemployed talents.

  • Develop a regular EU-level platform involving business, national ministries of education and industry as well as other stakeholders working in the Member States on the promotion of STEM and ICT

The objective of the platform would be to:

– enable the partners to compare best practices throughout the EU

– compare how STEM and ICT skills shortages are tackled in a structural way with long-term impact

– identify common needs that could be addressed at EU level

– encourage other EU Member States that are not taking sufficient action