Europe needs high-tech talent

European Strategic Autonomy series - Digital & Technology

Policy Brief

06/07/2022

Investing in people to counter oligopolistic dynamics and dependencies in technology markets

This policy brief is part of a series that analyses EU policies for more strategic autonomy in the tech domain. Whilst other briefs in the series explore hotly debated aspects like the role of strategic alliances or the possibilities and limits of regulating big tech firms, this publication focuses on an oft-forgotten element: skills. The EU counts too few digitally skilled graduates, and too many leave the continent to join other tech hubs. This shortage reinforces market concentration and increases EU dependencies. 

The EU acknowledges the need for more skills but fails to propose adequate remedies or even establish the right objective. To meaningfully support strategic autonomy aims, the EU needs to refine its success metrics and track unmet employer demand for specific advanced digital skills and unmet student demand for specific programmes. EU action plans like the European Skills Agenda and Digital Education Action Plan could help here. Yet, the lack of clear lines of accountability bode ill for their effective implementation. 

In the medium to long term, obtaining the needed skills for a more autonomous digital economy and society requires a coordinated approach within and between EU countries – one that leverages a wide range of policy areas and exploits linkages between them.

Network
Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung
Fondation Jean-Jaurès
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