On 30 September 2021 AMETIC, the Spanish digital industry business association officially kicked off the 4th edition of the Alliance for Digital Talent Development in Spain. The event also presented the winners from the ‘Digital Skills Awards Spain 2021’, also in its 4th year and part of the European Commission’s Digital Skills and Jobs Coalition, a partnership of stakeholders in Europe launching actions to tackle the digital skills gap across its various dimensions.
Carme Artigas, State Secretary for Digitalisation and Artificial Intelligence within the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Digital Transformation opened the event and Digital Skills Awards ceremony, with a keynote speech in which the 2025 Digital Spain Agenda assumed a central focus. The 2025 Digital Spain Agenda is the main roadmap towards Spain’s digital transformation in the coming decade. A key objective of the programme is the promotion of STEM careers, including technological and scientific vocations, amongst young people. This includes digital skills programmes that aim to address identified skills gap, such as the one related to gender and diversity.
Digital empowerment and skills for the future of work
The Alliance for Digital Talent Development in Spain takes place as a forum, bringing together ICT companies, universities, business schools, training centres, foundations and NGOs, sectoral associations and industry entities, interested in attracting digital talent and accelerating the country’s digital transformation. The forum’s 4th edition focused around the theme of digital empowerment and the role of women in the digital economy and digital talent as a driver for employability and inclusion.
Artigas defined the existing gender gap in the Spanish ICT sector as a: “a drag on our global growth and competitiveness that needs to be addressed” and pointed out that if the ratio of women and men working in ICT was to improve, this has the potential to generate the equivalent of 2.8% of the national GDP – “a key input from which we cannot fail”.
Only 20% of people in tech careers in Spain are women. When we look at ICT professionals specifically, women make up 30% of the whole pool. In fact, just over 1% of women in employment are engaged with the digital field. In Artigas’s words:
“The data shows the structural inequality that is widely rooted in the sector, and the urgency of addressing the transversal feminisation of this sector”.
Artigas highlighted the role of AMETIC as one of the main actors, committed to furthering the digital transformation of Spain, whilst embedding a unique ethical and social national perspective.
A national plan for digital skills that leaves no one behind
Pedro Mier, President of AMETIC spoke about the Spanish ‘National Digital Skills Plan’, proposed to the government already back in 2020. Amongst the strengths of the plan is its horizontal approach that takes into account the needs of virtually any economic sector in Spain. Mr Mier also mentioned AMETIC’s White Paper for the Development of Digital Competences, a thorough analysis of the digital industry sector drawing on knowledge, experience, and implementation capacity.
According to Mr Mier, one key result stemming out of the plan is the improved interest of business schools and universities in working with employers:
“We are seeing the arrival of the training school sector to AMETIC, both digital native schools and large transversal schools. This is a sign of the [growing] importance of digital training and skills for all”, [hence] “we need swift and easy procedures to meet the great challenge ahead of the management of the Next Generation European Funds.”
Pedro Mier did not forget to highlight the launch of the Spanish Digital Skills and Jobs Coalition website, part of a global initiative that sees an EU-level platform providing a single access point to the activities related to digital talent and skills, and facilitating collaboration between different EU Member States and National Coalitions for Digital Skills and Jobs.
“The website aims to be a reference point for the discussion of digital skills, as well as for the dissemination of information on services, resources, training materials, and interesting data related to these competences”.
Lucas González Ojeda, Deputy Head of Representation of the European Commission in Spain, also spoke at the event. Ojeda pointed out that the European Commission has had 6 main priorities since 2019, two of which are the twin green and digital transitions. Ojeda pointed to a common need across the EU to improve skills: 90% of jobs in Europe need digital skills, and 37% of people do not have this capacity yet. Mr Ojeda also highlighted the importance of the 2020 European Skills Agenda, whose goal is to reach the “a target of 70% Europeans with digital skills by 2025. Today, the number is 58%.”