Given the economic challenges facing Europe, with sky-high energy prices and inflation at levels unseen since the 1970s, boosting economic productivity via digitalisation is more urgent than ever. The opportunities for Small and Medium-Sized Businesses (SMBs) are clear: alongside a need for basic digital skills in areas like IT, UX Design, eCommerce, mobile internet, analytics, and social media marketing emerge requirements for competencies in new technological trends such as machine learning and Artificial Intelligence (AI), big data, and the Internet of Things (IoT). Yet too many SMBs lack the skills to fully benefit from these technological developments; as the OECD put it in a 2021 report on SMB digitalisation, a lack of digital skills is “emerging as a key hurdle to [SMB] digitalisation”. Recruiting, training, and retaining digital talent will be key.

What, then, is the fastest and most efficient way for Europe to gain the right digital skills to boost productivity and meet the challenges of the 21st century? How can governments and private companies work together to ensure the backbone of the economy – small and medium sized businesses – are fully able to harness technology and benefit from increased competitiveness, productivity, and growth?

We put questions and comments sent in from our readers to a panel of policymakers and experts, recorded inside the European Parliament for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic! Joining us were:

  • Maria Walsh, Member of the European Parliament, European People’s Party (EPP)
  • Tatjana Babrauskienė, Member of the European Economic and Social Committee
  • Ana Carrero, Deputy Head of Unit Vocational Education & Training, Directorate-General Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion, European Commission
  • Inger Paus, Public Affairs Director for Europe, Google

How can governments and businesses support the development of digital skills? How can we ensure that this is done at speed and scale in a fair way that doesn’t leave SMBs behind? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!

IMAGE CREDITS: Photo by Adam Winger on Unsplash
Editorially independent content supported by: Google. See our FAQ for more details. Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Commission. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.


2 comments Post a commentcomment

What do YOU think?

  1. avatar
    EU-Reform Proactive

    Before one can race, one has to learn to crawl first. Provided someone still wants to have children in our over-equalized and quota-crazy & stressed society!

    The “All welcome” is one of the EU’s political battle cries out of that dilemma!

    Now we heard from several EU politicians! But what is going on for decades in Euroland- how can, what should, what is, and what is not in the education systems and others which have shared EU competence?
    Proposals after proposals- endless discussions.

    Allegedly, Denmark holds the number one position in education in the EU. Why not ask a leader?

    How many “shared (competences) ideas” have ever been implemented and what are the results? Does anybody remember, keep track and know? One needs a digital AI computerised brain by now!

    A glimpse into the ‘European Education Area’(s)-

    • What are ‘European Schools” & what are these Officers doing?
    “Schola Europaea

    • What is the Bologna Process?

    • What is CEFR?

    There is no shortage of what i’s & what should!

    Example digital ‘flower shop vs traditional’:

    Profitability might/will shift from the one until the digital market (or any other market) is saturated and becomes equally unprofitable, and unsustainable & the game of monopoly plays itself out & another cycle starts afresh! Or the owner thinks of something else to do. Great!

    Genuine entrepreneurs are not made by politicians, regulations, or recipes but they belong to the specimen of the self-made, driven by their motivation, their rare instinct, their innovative thinking, & their endless energy. These Entrepreneurs make the politicians…….!

    While the developing world is overwhelmed with consumer litter- the EU is littered with proposals, declarations, laws, and whatever bureaucrats are nowadays typing digitally vs mechanically!

    Please look around – the EU/Europe is not the race leader!

    Le Berlaymont is the place for EU business lobbyists- not citizens. The National & provincial parliaments are the only places left for ‘citizen lobbyists’ (=voters- who should demand more direct democratic participation)- not businesses.

    Use them otherwise you lose them!

  2. avatar
    JT HK

    Without sovereignty and independent policy, EU cannot achieve anything.

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