We live in a world in which telecommunications and IT tools are not confined to certain sectors but extend in a greater or lesser degree to all areas of goods production and services.
Therefore, a different kind of preparation and education is needed, as the digital process is cuts across and penetrates all sectors.
All of this means that the labour market is demanding new job profiles that meet current needs, instead of continuing training in other profiles that no longer have a future as they are activities that have been automated or that no longer have a reason to exist in this new environment.
The study The Future of Work in Europe from the McKensey Global Institute warns that the old continent may face a shortage of skilled workers, despite the aforementioned automation.
The main cause of this situation, the study argues, is an ageing population, which means that by 2030 Europe’s working-age population
will have fallen by 4%, amounting to around 13.5 million people and resulting in a significant shrinkage of the labour supply.
This number will be even higher if the trend towards a shorter working week is confirmed, which would mean 2% fewer workers.
Automation and its consequences
According to the McKensey Global Institute’s work, automation will affect the 235 million current European workers in one way or another, of whom more than 90 million will have to develop new skills within their profession in line with digital technology, while 21 million will directly have to change occupations, as their current one disappears.
As for the jobs that the study considers will disappear in greater proportion, such as the hotel and catering industry (which will lose up to 94% of their jobs), wholesale and retail sales (68%) or construction (58%), it points out that the occupational categories that could grow most by 2030 in Europe are STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics).
These are followed by information and communication, social work and health care, and leisure and entertainment.
The new working environment demands digital professionals, experts in the new high-tech tools, who can meet the needs of a new era.
Many studies have been carried out on the most sought-after job profiles. If we look at the report Digital Society in Spain 2022 by the Telefónica Foundation, we find several studies that agree on the broad demand for digital professionals.
An example of this is the survey of companies carried out for the EAE Business School’s EPyCE 2020 report, which indicates that the most in-demand positions are grouped in the technology sector, which comes in first place with 32.14%, up 10 points compared to 2019.
Specifically, it notes that the most in-demand positions and fields are skilled operators, data science, computer engineers, big data, computer programmers, sales delegates, business development, industrial engineers, doctors and account managers.
Lack of professionals
It also analyses the most difficult positions and fields to fill, such as data science, big data, computer engineers, skilled workers, doctors, computer programmers, digital sales, managers, electrical engineers and cybersecurity managers.
Meanwhile, the human resources consultancy Experis, in its study Tech Cities 2021, highlights that by 2025, humans and machines will be dividing routine tasks 50/50 and there will be 97 million new jobs related to artificial intelligence, sustainability and healthcare.
In addition, it points out that the most sought-after job profile is that of software engineer, with more than 128,000 positions in 2021, although the greatest growth in the last four years has been that of data analysts and data scientists, whose demand has managed to multiply by seven.
Europe and high-tech training
Europe is gradually becoming aware of the need to train its people in high technologies if it doesn’t want to fall behind its competitors, in particular the United States and China.
This is why the European Commission announced last October the launch of an initiative to train one million Europeans in high technologies by 2025.
This initiative will be led by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), through the development of the deep technology education programmes that the EU needs to train these one million Europeans.
In particular, the EIT will offer training in the fields of deep technology, such as advanced materials and manufacturing, artificial intelligence, biotechnology, blockchain, robotics, photonics, electronics, quantum computing, aerospace, sustainable energy and clean technology in all Member States.
Training for all
As the Commission explains, the programmes will be open to all levels of education, from secondary school students to higher education, professionals and employers, and all education and training providers.
In addition, special attention will be given to a strong participation of women, as well as to countries with lower innovation capacity.
It should be recalled that the EIT has a network of over 3,400 partners and more than 70 centres across Europe to develop state-of-the-art deep technology education programmes.
This initiative, says Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, aims not only to ensure “the development of a skilled workforce, but also the retention of high-growth companies active in deep technology fields to maintain and expand their operations in Europe”.