The annual Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI), published by the European Commission, has been released. Ireland ranks fifth in this year’s index, with an average yearly growth of the DESI score of 8.5%. Ireland ranks most strongly in the human capital dimension as well as digital public services.
DESI ranks the countries of the European Union according to four dimensions: human capital – the share of people with digital skills and IT specialists, connectivity – mobile and broadband take up across the country, integration of digital technology into enterprises and digital public services. Data was collected in 2021 to form the 2022 Index.
DESI 2022 also included a number of new rankings and the Women in Digital scoreboard, to assess women’s inclusion in digital jobs, careers and entrepreneurship.
DESI remarks on Ireland’s progress
The overview for Ireland’s country profile details the findings of DESI 2022.
According to the report: “Ireland can be considered a forerunner in the EU on the integration of digital technologies, and as such is expected to make a significant contribution to the collective efforts needed to reach the Digital Decade targets, in particular those for adopting digital technologies and for support to unicorns (a start-up company with a valuation of over USD 1 bn). At the same time, Ireland’s own ambition is to keep up with the most digitally advanced nations in the world. Therefore, the country’s performance will need to keep improving to reach some of the more ambitious targets.
Ireland is committed to achieving the target of 80% of adults having at least basic digital skills by 2030, as well as increasing the number of graduates with high-level digital skills by 65% to over 12 400 by the end of 2022 aiming to further increase this number over the coming years. To this end, Ireland is taking measures across the entire system, from schools to further education and training, higher education, and lifelong learning in general.”
Ireland comes third across the EU for digital skills and IT specialists. 70% of people in Ireland have basic digital skills, compared to 54% across the whole EU. 40% of the population have above basic digital skills, compared with 26% across the EU.
IT specialists have been increasing as well – from 4.9% in 2019 to 6.3% in 2021. The proportion of ICT graduates (8.6%) is significantly higher than the EU average (3.9%), yet 53% of enterprises reported hard-to-fill vacancies for jobs requiring ICT specialist skills (the EU average is 55.4%) Despite this, only 27% of enterprises offer ICT training to their employees.
Ireland ranked sixth overall for connectivity and came first for mobile broadband take up at 98% of the population. However Ireland lagged behind other European countries when it came to the 5G spectrum and 1GB broadband take up.
Integration of digital technology
Ireland ranked seventh across the EU for integration of digital technologies in SMEs. 64% of Irish small and medium sized businesses had at least a basic level of digital intensity, compared with 55% across the EU. Irish businesses were notably higher in their use of cloud, big data, selling online and e-Commerce turnover, but lagged behind in electronic information sharing and e-Invoices.
Digital Public Services
Ireland experienced a remarkable transformation in digital government services between 2021 and 2022. E-Government users increased from 67% of internet users to 92%. Ireland now ranks 6th overall for digital public services.
Where Ireland performs well is in digital public services for businesses, where Ireland scores a maximum 100 compared with the EU average of 82 points. Open data in Ireland at 95% is far ahead the EU score of 81%.