IT skills shortage costing Europe 'billions'

European Commission calls upon member states to tackle "digital illiteracy" and shortfall in qualified tech staff.

Bupesh Jain

Europe is losing out on billions of dollars in investments because of a shortfall in qualified technology-oriented human resources. The European Commission is warning that 40 percent of European citizens suffer from "digital illiteracy" and that the skills shortage is slowing down the implementation of new projects. The European commissioner for information society and media, Viviane Reding, said it is no longer possible to waste the talents of millions of Europeans by leaving them out of the information society.

"Shortfalls of qualified ICT (information communications technology) practitioners slow down new ICT applications in the economy and draw away billions of euros of investment funds to dynamic emerging economies, where hundreds of thousands of new engineers are qualifying each year," Reding said in a statement. The Commission has called upon member states to tackle the deepening digital-skills crisis and will support a number of initiatives, launching its e-Inclusion initiative in 2008, which aims to halve digital illiteracy by 2010 by promoting better use of e-learning.

Bupesh Jain of Silicon.com reported from London.