Not all business sectors are affected negatively by the current economic crisis. The ICT sector is still a competitive area worldwide, where any candidate with a technological profile and proper training can find interesting and promising job opportunities and fulfilling careers. A top ten ranking of the most innovative enterprises published by Forbes magazine in 2011, includes five ICT companies: Salesforces.com (1), Amazon.com (2), Tencent Holdings (4), Apple (5) and Google (7).

The ICT sector is dynamic and swiftly changing towards a still unpredictable future. A perpetual and substantial job offer is guaranteed in an unexplored area that is open to creativity, innovation and new methods of working, interacting and learning. As such, according to the report called “A Bright Future in ICTs – Opportunities for a new generation of women”, published by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) in February 2012, The Institute for the Future (IFTF) has identified six key factors that are likely to shape the future workforce: longer life spans; a rise in smart devices and systems; advances in computational systems such as sensors and processing power; new multimedia technology; the continuing evolution of social media; and a globally connected world.

The importance of ICTs in Europe

One of the key factors in a nation’s competitiveness is its human capital and talent (i.e. the expertise, training and productivity of its work force). It is clear, however, that the economic investment made in a specific sector determines its growth.

In fact, the impact of ICTs on a country’s economy can be measured from its weight in GDP. The European average is 2.5% of GDP for information technologies and 3% for communications, as indicated in 2011 by Fundación Orange in its annual report regarding the development of the Information Society in Spain.

This report also highlights that more developed countries invest large amounts in ICTs, while this situation is inverted in countries which are less economically developed, although many ICT companies transferred part of their services to non-European nations.

Furthermore, this report underlines the unequal distribution of production generated by the different ICT sectors, and classifies different countries in four groups or clusters. The first group comprises the leading nations (Germany, France, Great Britain and Italy), where ICT production in industry and services is beyond the average EU level. The second cluster contains the “followers”, such as Spain, with ICT production values in industry and services over the EU average. These figures, however, reflect a certain disproportion among sectors, which causes an unbalanced ICT production level. A third group includes the countries that we might call “balanced” countries. Here, the ICT production level in industry and services is more or less equal to the EU average and the values for industry and services are similar. Finally, the fourth group contains countries with below-average levels, but without large production mismatches between the different ICT sectors.

Unordered & Ordered Lists

Disparities between supply and demand

A study conducted by the human resources firm Adecco, in collaboration with Infoempleo, indicates that although 2012 is still a bad year for job creation, the only sector that will still grow is the ICT sector. In fact, I.T., with 5.5% of jobs, is the third of the economic areas that generate the most employment in Spain. Apart from being the fastest growing area in 2011, the report says it is the best hope for 2012.

Despite this promising future, the Spanish labor market suffers from the paradox of its job demand not being covered due to the shortage of professionals, according to the report called “ICT Employment Observatory in Spain” conducted by the job center Ticjob.es. According to this study, the lack of qualified professionals highlights the difference between labor supply and demand in this area. The report identifies four sources of disparity between supply and demand: training, expertise, experience and location. All these factors have a direct impact on employment.

Regarding the aspect of training, the mismatch is due to the fact that 60% of jobs require a degree in ICT or at a higher level, although the number of university enrollments in this sector has decreased by 40% since 2004. Moreover, the figures suggest that this tendency will continue. When talking about expertise or specialization, some job positions are not occupied, because the requirements demanded by companies are too high and cannot be met by the candidates. Experience has become another handicap, as 34.5% of the job offers require previous experience of 3 to 5 years and 33% request an experience of 5 to 10 years, which places recent graduates in a complicated situation. The unwillingness of some candidates to relocate or even to travel regularly is another reason for certain vacancies to be difficult to fill and to limit the incorporation of certain types of work.

There is no doubt that a good academic background along with continuous training and flexibility may be some of the key factors for a candidate to be eligible to occupy a qualified and promising position in the ICT sector.

Information Resources:

  • Forbes magazine: A Bright Future in ICTs – Opportunities for a new generation of women (ITU).
  • Institute for the Future: Report: eEspaña de la Fundación Orange
  • Report elaborated by Adecco and Infojobs.
  • Report: I Observatorio de Empleo TIC

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