Dramatic changes in the ICT workforce structure show where the jobs of the future can be found

The Management and Plan/Design positions: IS management and governance, architecture, analysis are the ICT worker segments that have been growing massively over the last years and. Europe has added 400,000 jobs in this category in only two years! At the same time we see a decrease in the number of jobs for some other jobs, such as peripheral, enabling and maintenance ICT occupations. Overall there is considerable growth in core ICT jobs despite or at the same time as there is tremendous excess demand for these core ICT jobs, and an amazing upward skilling focus in the ICT jobs. The bottom line is that underneath the surface of a stable ICT workforce development, massive changes in the structure of the workforce are happening right now providing evidence as to where the ICT jobs of the future can be found.

There has been continuous growth in ICT jobs since 2000. Even after the dotcom bubble and even after the financial crisis of 2008 we saw a steady increase of on average 4.1 percent per annum.
Core ICT practitioner jobs now stand at 4.6 million, which is 2.1% of the total workforce. The increase has been amazingly over the past years, almost regardless of what the business cycle looked like.
From 2011 on, when statistical institutes switched to a new taxonomy, we were able to produce a broader statistic of the ICT workforce, including many more ICT jobs, as is depicted by the ”Broad Definition” containing all of the jobs listed in the box below. This definition includes more than the core development and operations jobs. In general, one has to be a little more cautious about this statistic than the core jobs statistic, because some of the data for some countries had to be estimated.

In the broader definition there is more variance but more or less a for the three years of measurement available.
The question arises, whether this can be interpreted as a uniform trend, as opposed to perhaps a compound of different trends at disaggregation level? Another question is whether, when the sum total stagnates, this shows a stagnant demand for ICT workers or it is the result of supply side bottlenecks?

In more detail, one sees that underneath the surface of a stable ICT workforce total, massive changes in the structure of the workforce are happening right now.

There is a surge in Management and Plan/Design positions: IS management and governance, architecture, analysis. Europe has added 400,000 jobs in this category in only two years!
There is also obviously a high demand for “core ICT jobs”, such as Software and Application developers, Web and Multimedia experts, Database designers and administrators, system administrators and network and operations practitioners.

The open vacancy data that is available from different sources for several countries shows that there is also a severe excess demand for these core jobs. From vacancy data it emerges that the most sought after IT positions currently are software engineering and web development jobs, and application administrators. These jobs are in high demand with many unfilled vacancies reported.
At the same time we see a decrease in the number of jobs for some other jobs, such as peripheral, enabling and maintenance occupations. This includes

  • Telecoms and electronics engineers
  • Sales and training professionals
  • Technology specific maintenance and operation technicians

For instance, Europe now has 175,000 less medical ICT technicians in employment than there were in 2011, and 160,000 less process control technicians.
As summary, the data nicely show, that

  • There is considerable growth in core ICT jobs despite or at the same time as...
  • There is tremendous excess demand for these core ICT jobs,
  • There is an amazing upward skilling focus in the ICT jobs which might be an indication of a stack effect.
  • There is an indication of a demand-supply mismatch for at least some of the technician and hardware engineering jobs.

Contractor

A service contract has been awarded in December 2013 by the European Commission to a consortium led by empirica to undertake this work.

The event is supported by the EC in the scope of the service contract to promote e-leadership in Europe (LEAD)