Categories: OP-ED

Digital Skills “fueling” the transformation of digital economy in EaP countries

The digitization of the economy is one of the most important drivers behind the profound transformation of the labor market and the way people work, which is thought likely to become even more significant in the years to come. This new paradigm represents a major challenge for employers, workers and public authorities, and the challenges needs to be fully understood in order to identify the most appropriate policy options to transform them into opportunities for all.

Digitization transforms the economy and the workforce: job profiles are changing, some jobs are becoming obsolete, and skills mismatch becomes more visible.Relative to earlier industrial revolutions, the digital revolution is unfolding over a shorter time period and the adjustment process needs to be faster.
As digitization speeds up, the demand for digital skills is growing in Eastern Partnership countries. Citizens need adequate and appropriate digital skills to be empowered in a digital economy and society.
Digital skills is a key framework condition for the development of the digitaleconomy and society in the Eastern Partnership. A digital talent pool is crucialfor European competitiveness and for Europe’s digital society to remaininclusive. Harmonized digital skills strategies in the EaP should bring togethernational authorities, companies, social partners, non-profit organizations and
education providers in joint action to address the growing need for digital skills.
There are lack as many as 756 000 ICT professionals by 2020 in EU. Yet youth unemployment is at almost 20%. More than a third of the labor force and, more broadly, around 45% of EU citizens are in effect digitally illiterate.
Markets offer may new opportunities for employment and growth. However to reap these rewards it is necessary to also address it changes.
The Digital Skills for Digital citizens on building a digitally inclusive society. What does this mean? This means that each of us should reflect on how we use and interact with technology and this may make us more digitally literate. This is our response to the rapid digitalization of services in public and private sector – libraries, finance and banking, e-services – hazardous online activities and online propaganda (fake news).
The principal objective which policy makers and employers should now address are to deliver and communicate current and future requirements to digitalization and digital skills, practices, and policies; equip employees with necessary skills which are compatible with those adopted in Western economies.

These tasks for policy-makers is to identify technology trends that affect the strategic role of leadership in the digital economy and turn it into a digital leadership strategy. This could be done to share the latest results adopted by the European commission on the demand and supply of digital skills; support research at universities and design sectorial and regional policies for entrepreneurs and businesses to facilitate training in digital skills.
Employers require first to join Digital skills and digital jobs coalition to be able to exchange the needs of it and what can they offer to their partners overseas, in particular through the developing of knowledge networks.
Second, engage in knowledge transfer with local and international businesses through, for example: training, coaching, co-design and consultancy where these skills could be imitated, learned and further adopted as a results of learning from each other and open innovation.
Third, design and provide educational offerings in the field of digital leadership to employees both in-house and via massive online open courses such as Coursera, Canvas, Futurelern.
Taken together, this set of policies and actions may impact on academia, business, society and the economy.
What are the new opportunities for business in EAP which could be further applied at the workplace?
In Europe around 37% of labor force participants do not have even basic digital skills and companies lack the more advanced specialized skills need for successful adoption of digital technologies. The situation in EaP is even worse, and the problem about it that no one has ever measured those lack of skills.
To follow, in Europe 99% of all businesses are small and medium-sized enterprises, accounting for 67% of employment and 57% of value added. In fact most, 93%, are micro enterprises, employing less than 10 people. These firms rely a lot on skills. IN the EaP large firms still employ massive number of people, but digitalization does not become different or not needed if EaP has different economy structure – quite opposite.


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