All Europeans need digital skills to study, work, communicate, access online public services and find trustworthy information. However, many Europeans do not have adequate digital skills. The Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) shows that 4 out of 10 adults and every third person who works in Europe lack basic digital skills. There is also low representation of women in tech-related professions and studies, with only 1 in 6 ICT specialists and 1 in 3 science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) graduates being women.
The European Commission has set targets in the European skills agenda and the digital education action plan to ensure that 70% of adults have basic digital skills by 2025. These initiatives aim to reduce the level of 13-14 year olds who underperform in computing and digital literacy from 30% (2019) to 15% in 2030.
Over 70% of businesses have said that the lack of staff with adequate digital skills is an obstacle to investment. Europe also faces a shortage of digital experts who can develop cutting-edge technologies for the benefit of all citizens.
A strong digital economy powered by Europeans with digital skills is vital for innovation, growth, jobs, and European competitiveness. The spread of digital technologies is having a massive impact on the labour market and the type of skills needed in the economy and in society. Member States, business, training providers, the European Commission and other organisations need to work together to tackle the digital skills gap.
To follow the development of the digital transition and the digital skills gap the Commission publishes DESI annually. It tracks Member States’ digital performance in different areas to monitor progress and pinpoint where further efforts are necessary.