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Data is of substantial economic value and the IT sector is expected to continue to grow in the future. Digital skills are essential, but real digital fluency means applying ethical considerations to technical achievement. The digital transformation is causing significant changes in the world of work and society as a whole. New technologies will reshape millions of jobs in the EU - some jobs are at risk of being lost to machines and new ones are being created. As a result, skill requirements are changing. There is a rapid rise in demand for advanced IT and programming skills, such as software developers or data scientists, with such jobs estimated to grow by 90% between 2016 and 2030. And by 2030, the amount of the time spent using advanced technological skills will increase by nearly 50% in Europe. Yet, the digital skills gap remains wide in society as a whole, and is at risk of expanding in many EU countries. Technology has been, and will continue to be, linked to progress and change. It allows businesses to enhance new (product or service) offerings, and to simplify existing procedures. AI is already widespread and many believe the biggest risks are not job losses but rather how it will affect workers in their current jobs, or when they apply for new jobs. To be able to promote trustworthy AI and legislations, there are a few key issues that need to be resolved first, such as: consent when AI collects and uses data, bias in algorithms and, accountability. The implementation of a digital strategy can be a cost/time-savings strategy for a business and can help employees make better decisions and become more efficient. The development of robotics and automation is accelerating, and consequently a large share of work will change. Societal changes brought by automation and increases in inequality will need to be addressed in ways that secure people's livelihood and ensure that society can still function on fewer human interactions, and a reduced income tax revenue. Technology has provided a crucial lifeline during COVID-19 by linking people to loved ones and work - in ways that make it clearer just how digitized the near future will be. The hybrid forms of collaboration that have emerged as we move towards a new normal bring their own challenges, and may aggravate existing inequalities. To thrive in a contemporary workplace, young people need to develop digital fluency and science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) skills from an early age. Real fluency starts with basic digital literacy - and adds an ability to apply critical thought and ethical considerations to using and developing technology, or dealing with data. While learners need help to attain an ability to apply innovation in ways that take into account ethical considerations, education systems need to ensure technology curricula are up-to-date on related issues - and teachers need opportunities to refresh their own skills and knowledge to keep up with real-world developments. The ethical use of technology should be embedded throughout an education and lifelong learning, to prepare people of all ages to deal with the thorniest related issues. Properly matching STEM skills with a solid ethical grounding requires investment, though the benefits in terms of increased digital fluency can clearly exceed related costs. That is certainly true for businesses hiring young people equipped with fluency who are less likely to build artificial intelligence and other systems that result in litigation or scandal. Many of the most desirable jobs require a healthy understanding of math and science; according to projections made by the US Department of Labor, many of the 20 fastest-growing occupations for the period between 2016 and 2026 will require related backgrounds and skills. In addition, the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training (Cedefop) has estimated there will be 11% employment growth within the European Union for occupations tied to science, engineering, and information and communications technology between 2020 and 2030. Given the importance of high-value-added STEM in future workplaces, it is imperative to ensure access to related education for people from all socio-economic groups. Girls and women are particularly underrepresented within STEM disciplines, and it is crucial to find ways to proactively increase their engagement during secondary and tertiary education.

Digital Fluency and STEM Skills

KEY TRENDS

Digital Fluency and STEM Skills