The development of digital technologies will represent enormous growth opportunities for the European Union.
According to a recent study by McKinsey, the European Commission in its digital strategy 2020 will allocate investments in AI development of over 20 billion euros per year until 2030, compared to 3.2 billion euros in 2016.
With the advancement of digital technologies, the expectations of businesses and citizens have also increased. However, McKinsey’s analysis shows a lack of digital and technological skills so that the public administration can respond to the need.
McKinsey has classified the critical skills needed in the public sector on three dimensions: technological skills, skills on digital citizenship (for example, digital literacy) and traditional skills (such as problem-solving). And these skills are amongst the ones that the New Metro project is focusing onto.
As for technological skills, 1.7 million additional employees will be needed. Besides, the public sector will also have to step up efforts to develop digital citizenship skills significantly. Consequently the proper educational path is required across Europe.
Finally, some traditional skills such as problem solving and creativity, will retain or increase their importance, requiring further development.
To bridge the skills gap and operate in the future in an increasingly digitized and automated world, governments will need to focus on three main activities: recruiting, upskilling and re-skilling. These too are all elements which New Metro is taking into deep consideration.
Improving existing recruitment practices in the public sector will significantly contribute to bridging the future skills gap. It is especially true of highly specialized technical skills such as blockchain development and sophisticated analysis of the data that drives the digital economy. In the current crisis, the public sector could emphasize its appeal to digital specialists by leveraging its skills for the common interest.
All employees should receive regular training to develop their digital citizenship skills and traditional skills.
Governments could complement existing in-person training programs with flexible and scalable e-learning formats to offer more widely accessible training for necessary digital skills, such as digital literacy and collaboration.
Governments must systematically evaluate which public sector jobs will be most affected by digitization and automation so that they can offer re-skilling.
Since there is greater complexity in terms of re-skilling than upskilling, external partnerships with universities, employment agencies, and other educational institutions will be crucial for the development of adequate training platforms for employees.
You can read the entire McKinsey study here.