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EY: Digital Skills Shortage in Europe Poses Risks for the Continent’s Future Growth

EY: Digital Skills Shortage in Europe Poses Risks for the Continent’s Future Growth

Skill shortages in Europe are damaging the growth prospects of companies and the continent’s economy, according to Building a Better Working Europe, a new survey released as part of the EY Attractiveness Survey series. The most alarming talent shortages are in digital skills, with cybersecurity (48%) and artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics (48%) identified as the scarcest skills according to the survey respondents.

Being digitally mature* pays back

Among the companies surveyed, 60% have digital transformation as part of their strategy, 57% have their people strategy as part of their digital transformation agenda and 54% have a chief digital officer (CDO) or a chief information technology officer (CITO). These three elements, however, co-exist in only 17% of companies, which have been classified by the study as “digitally mature” and have a board-level technology “champion” as well as a people strategy that forms part of their transformation program.

Digitally mature companies that are managing their people strategy in the boardroom tend to have higher productivity (76%) compared with the chasers (73%) and the laggards (65%). In addition, staff turnover is much lower in digitally mature companies (59%) compared with the chasers and laggards (71% and 74%, respectively).

Investing in talent and rethinking the HR function

According to the survey, European companies recognize they have skill shortages and 89% say they are investing in improving the digital skills of new and existing workers. However, only 43% of companies have a human resources (HR) strategy that looks more than three years ahead.

Commenting on the findings of the survey, Stavros Pantzaris, Country Managing Partner of EY Cyprus said: "The rapid pace of technological change and innovation is drastically transforming the labor market. Companies struggle to cover their requirements in new critical skills. To meet this challenge, they need to work hard on attracting and retaining talent, focus on reskilling their staff and reinforce and upgrade the HR functions."

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