The ongoing digital transformation continues to generate a steady demand for workers with increasingly sophisticated digital skills. This process is multi-dimensional and workers with these highly specialized skills are very much sought after. The European Union Commission estimates that there could be a shortage of around 800,000 information and communications technology (ICT) specialists in the EU by 2020. A third dimension is the fact that there is a growing need to reskill the existing workforce, especially in light of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and the incorporation of the Internet of Things (IoT) and cyber-physical systems into the industrial production process. The “smart factory” also opens up new possibilities of individualized and efficient customer care and smoother communication with suppliers in the supply chain logistics. This is based on cloud-based platforms and artificial intelligence.
According to the Jacques Delors Institue in Berlin, digital skills in general are now needed in almost all types of work. In this recent contribution to the debate on the European Union the Institute has targeted the societal changes being driven these broad changes. To address the European continent-wide impact of digital transformation, this think thank is proposing a Europe-wide strategy to reskill workers for the requirements of connected production.
The core mission of the Jacques Delors Institute is to produce analyses and policy proposals targeting European decision-makers and the wider public. The work of the Jacques Delors Institute is inspired by the action and ideas of Jacques Delors, and organized around three axes:
- "European Union and citizens", which covers questions of policy, institutions and civil society, focusing in particular on the themes of participatory democracy, European institutions, European political parties and European identity.
- "Competition, cooperation, solidarity", covering economic, social and regional issues with a specific focus on the European budget, intra-EU solidarity, agriculture, cohesion policy, economic governance, and energy policy.
- "European external action", bringing together work with an international dimension, including EU-US relations, EU relations with neighbors, and extra-EU regional integration.
These changes are, in essence, combining platform-based communication with cloud computing, improved sensor technology and the application of sophisticated algorithms to large and unstructured pools of data generated by these sensors. This combination makes it possible to link up an almost infinite number of interconnected physical objects. One of the main economic impacts of this is seen