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June 19, 2012

European businesses failing to keep up with technology

According to the European Commission’s Digital agenda team, businesses are not embracing digital the way they should.

By Tineka Smith

European commission vice president
European Commission Vice President Neelie Kroes

Statistics by the European Commission reveal that half of the European workforce lacks the ICT skills needed to help them change or find a new job.

Almost half of the labour force are not confident their internet and computer skills are developed enough in the current labour market and 25% have no ICT skills.

ICT vacancies will make 700,000 of the European workforce by 2015.

"Europeans are hungry for digital technologies and more digital choices, but governments and industry are not keeping up with them," said European Commission Vice President Neelie Kroes.

One in four Europeans have still never used the internet.

"This attachment to 20th century policy mindsets and business models is hurting Europe’s economy," said Kroes. "It’s a terrible shame. We are shooting ourselves in the foot by under-investing. Europe will be flattened by its global competitors if we continue to be complacent."

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Neelie Kroes has suggested that the industry, educators, and other relevant groups from a grand coalition for ICT jobs, including better opportunities for IT training.

Another area of concern the digital agenda team highlighted is online shopping being confined within each country.

Only one in ten of EU online shoppers purchased goods from a website based in another EU member state; Language barriers, copyright complications, and delivery refusal were main problems.

Businesses are losing out on potential profits as eCommerce among SMEs has stalled. The majority were reported to not shop or sell online which limits their export and revenue potential.

Britons, however, excelled in some digital targets set by the European Commission for 2015. Over 70% of British currently shop online which is over the 50% target.

Britons also beat its 50% target in overall internet usage with 81% using it at least once a week.

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