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High-Tech Skills for Europe

Scaling up Best Practices and Re-focusing Funding Programmes and Incentives

Analysis of innovative policies and funding programmes for high-tech skills development in the professional world to re-focus funding programmes to foster scalability and sustainability of best practices



High-Tech skills challenges of today and tomorrow

The digitisation of the economy is a disruptive process that is fundamentally changing the way enterprises operate. They face significant shortages of IT (information technologies) specialists and digitally-skilled workers. A report[1] on the "digital talent gap" revealed that over 80% of enterprises realise that digital transformation is a competitive opportunity but over 90% lack skills. SMEs have even more difficulty in recruiting digitally-talented staff. The demand for IT professionals is outstripping supply. The shortage (calculated as the number of potential open posts) is estimated to reach 500,000 in 2020.

Industry also needs digitally savvy leaders and innovators. There is a lack of managers with such a skillset: it is estimated[2] that there will be a gap of up to 250,000 e-leaders by 2020 in Europe. The skills required to achieve successful technological innovation are crucial in developing Europe’s competitiveness and innovative capacity. The modern economy depends on individuals with the ability to design new business models and to seize opportunities making best use of new technologies to deliver value. The T-shape metaphor together with the presentation of the leadership skills triangle is useful to describe “future ready” professionals who are adaptive innovators with the necessary high-tech talent and leadership skills.


Between 2013 and 2025 an additional 953,000 KETs professionals[1] and associates will be needed to satisfy demand. Most of jobs related to additional demand (62%) will require highly skilled people, though there is also a relatively strong increase in demand expected for mediumskilled people in KETs (30% of additional demand). The data show potential a possible gap in the range of approximately 21,000 to 83,000 highly-skilled KETs employees per year and 10,000 to 44,000 medium-skilled KETs workers per year, depending on how the field develops.

How to participate?

The initiative is characterized by its collaborative approach. Close collaboration with experts in the field of high-tech skills is key in the development, validation and implementation of innovative policies, funding programmes and incentives. Throughout the initiative, various events will be organized aimed at exchanging knowledge, receiving feedback and creating support. Your contributions and input will be highly appreciated on the following activities:

  • In-depth interviews with key experts (October 2017 – January 2018)
  • Online survey addressing 500+ stakeholders in the field of ICT (March 2018)
  • Experts workshops: 30 January 2018, 17 May 2018, 13 December 2018, 11 April 2019 (see below)
  • Interim report (July 2018)
  • High level conference (20 June 2019)
  • Final report (July 2019)

Please contact: upgrade@empirica(dot)com



1. Source: Capgemini Consulting, 2013. See:  PDF 

2. Source: empirica, 2015. See:

3. See the webpage and the reports on "Skills for Key Enabling Technologies in Europe"



The service contract is conducted by empirica

together with PwC and experts from the ENIR network 


for the EASME and the European Commission