How the e-CF is helping to close Europe’s ICT skills gap

The ICT skills gap in Europe is well known. Demand for ICT experts far outpaces supply. Even so, in order to be able to market themselves effectively, ICT companies need to understand precisely what their capabilities are.

They must clarify what competences are required to be able to promote and sell their services. It is also vital that they are able to analyse the skills they will need in future to support potential new service proposals. With this information, companies can make informed decisions on developing or acquiring new skills.

The European e-Competence Framework (e-CF)

The European e-Competence Framework (e-CF) can support this evaluation. The e-CF was developed to provide a reference of 40 competences that apply to the ICT workplace. It describes the competences, skills, and knowledge requirements of ICT professionals at five proficiency levels. The e-CF will help companies align their competence development plans with their business strategy. Staff development needs can be identified and decisions taken on whether to develop a practitioner’s competences in a certain domain. It can also highlight the need to recruit additional professionals with different sets of skills.

The e-CF will reinforce a company’s commercial activity by allowing it to better understand what competences must be developed to expand its range of services. Companies can also recognise what future opportunities could be developed on the basis of their existing set of competences.

Furthermore, it is estimated that only 23 per cent of European ICT professionals have the competences required for their job. There is therefore an urgent need for lifelong learning, continued professional development and different educational paths to attest to an employee’s competences and skills and enable ICT professionals to develop their careers. Mapping to the e-CF improves the comparability of courses, serving as a reference to evaluate learning outcomes. Each competence is built and described with its components and levels. Its modular structure allows for the combination of different competences to develop learning modules.

The recent publication of the e-CF as a new pan-European standard provides European ICT companies with valuable opportunities to develop their business and their staff. We strongly encourage them to take full advantage of it.

Fiona Fanning, Secretary General of CEPIS