EU report outlines plans to solve skills shortage

As European policy continues to make its mark on the UK, the European Commission has revealed its plans to solve the skills shortage in member states, particularly in IT.

The Action Plan on Skills and Mobility' will build on the conclusions of the Task Force in order to create a more favourable environment for more open and easily accessible European labour markets by 2005'.

The report outlines the total predicted skills shortage in IT-related disciplines now and in the near future:

'The 'gap' between ICT skilled worker supply and projected

needs across the European Union alone is estimated to reach 1.6 million in 2003.'

'There are several reasons for this, one being that while there have been several thousands of redundancies in ICT companies, few have laid-off large numbers of skilled ICT people. Another is the cross-sector use and need for ICT skills; many organisations need more people now simply to make full use of the equipment they already have, let alone what is on the leading edge horizon'.

The report continues by refering to EU member state's current visa arrangements, including our own 'Fast Track Visa (FTV)' scheme. Clearly, the current 'FTV' debate in the UK is just a small part of a continent-wide issue.

'To cope with the shortage of indigenous skills, some Member States have relaxed job permit

rules to allow in skilled ICT workers from outside the EU, for example Germany and the UK.

However, this external supply does not significantly affect overall demand.'

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