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The high-tech skills gap in Europe will reach 500,000 in 2025 with a strong polarisation of skills needed

The demand for high-tech skills is on a solid growth track. empirica is anticipating that the number of IT practitioners will grow from 8 million in 2015 to almost 8.7 million in 2020 in the EU28. The latest estimate (January 2017) of the gap between demand and supply is 500,000 in 2020, down from an estimate of 756,000 released in December 2015. This reduction of the gap comes at least in part from an increased number of IT educated professionals coming out of Higher Education (HE) and Vocational Training (VET). Under the main scenario, 240,000 graduates from IT related HE programmes and VET schemes keep entering the labour market per year, plus also more than 100,000 new IT practitioners without such a formal degree (i.e., “lateral entries”). Jobs newly created (expansion demand) account for a third to 40% of the number of new entrants.
The analysis of recent developments of job statistics over the past few years hint at a polarization of skills: both the highest skills category (ICT management, architecture and analysis jobs) and lowest skills category (ICT mechanics and servicers) have gained considerable shares of employment over the last five years (8.3% and 7.4% annually, respectively). Mid level skills, especially at the associate and technician level, have seen rather little (yet still some) gains and might get under pressure as productivity gains from automation and commoditization of IT services continue. Continuous, life-long education and training therefore gain more relevance than ever as the industry strives for maturing the professionalism and keeping pace with disruptive change.