Seizing the opportunity of e-Jobs

On 27/28 November the e-Jobs Observatory participated in the European Employment Forum (EEF) – an annual conference and exhibition, focusing on the major social and economic issues surrounding employment and creating an effective discussion and meeting forum.

The “SQUARE” exhibition centre opened its doors on Tuesday morning, 27 November, to welcome approximately 450 representatives from the industry, the European institutions, government policy makers, as well as key stakeholders from the employment sector and related cross-cutting sectors.

Throughout conference sessions, focus group sessions and exhibitor presentations, participants at the EEF had the chance to explore ways that will boost the employability of the European labour force and pave the way out of the recession.

The purpose of the participation of the e-Jobs Observatory in the EEF, as presented by Adriana Baer, Coordinator of the Pro InterNet (PIN) project, was to showcase PIN and present its outcomes, launch new developments in the identification of emerging sectorial ICT Role Profiles, and promote the importance of e-Skills, as a powerful tool capable of diminishing unemployment and eliminating mismatches between the demand and supply of labourforce.

With approximately 26 million unemployed people in the EU-27 and a conservative estimate of 700,000 ICT vacancies by 2015, Europe needs a robust re-appraisal of its training capabilities that will play a crucial role in filling the gap between market demand and supply of labour force.

The e-Jobs Observatory, a European initiative, has a key role in this mission. By identifying skills and competences, it generates ICT Role Profiles which meet market needs in emerging sectors, ranging from Green IT to Ambient Assisted Living (AAL) and from e-Tourism to on-line Marketing and e- Commerce. By developing Training Guidelines, it assists training organisations to implement e-Jobs Role Profiles in their courses. Furthermore, through the creation of the “e-Jobs Observatory Label of Excellence”, it distinguishes training organisations proposing internet related trainings corresponding to market needs.

“Secure employment is not the result of filling positions, it’s finding the right person for the right job”, said Ed Mahood, Chairman of the e-Jobs Observatory, during his presentation at the first conference session “Austerity and jobs: impacts and alternative approaches”.

Green IT was identified as an emerging sector with great potential in diminishing unemployment, while decreasing the environmental footprint. This was highlighted during the conference session “The European partners’ work programme 2012-2014”. The e-Jobs Observatory is aware of the growing demand of up-skilled workforce in the Green IT sector and currently, through the GRIN-CH project, works on the development of Green IT Role Profiles.

Philippe Wacker, Director of the e-Jobs Observatory, spoke about the “hunger of Europeans for digital technologies”, and called on the need to “develop courses corresponding to market needs”, while Francois Adoue, President of the Observatory, reminded the audience of the importance of grammatical and orthographic competences, which reduce the credibility of job applications and the interest in visiting a website. According to a survey published by the BBC “Spelling mistakes ‘cost millions’ in lost on-line sales”, 50% of a website turnover is lost, if there are mistakes on the web- page.

Besides pure ICT skills, required by e-Jobs, behavioural and business skills, the so-called “soft skills”, are also necessary for success in the labour market. This was underlined throughout several sessions and discussions, in particular during the session “Bridging the Skills gap for youth in Europe”, when the European Confederation of Junior Enterprises (JADE) and AIESEC, the world’s largest youth-run organization, were awarded for their contribution in empowering young people with soft skills. “Soft skills” are a core element of the Role Profiles developed by the e-Jobs Observatory.

The e-Jobs Observatory is currently expanding its portfolio of ICT Role Profiles, by working on the development of 20 emerging sectorial ICT Role Profiles, which will be ready in the course of 2013.

The Observatory is supported by a broad network of stakeholders from 17 countries. It welcomes new partners interested in joining forces to tackle the e-Skills gap and unemployment.