New technology adoption creating potential employment crisis in Europe

New technologies have already started to change staff requirements in the majority of European companies, leaving employers to face a huge skills gap as they struggle to find suitable staff, a new business survey shows.

62% of European businesses say new technologies have already changed their employment needs, resulting in a requirement for higher skilled positions in 59% of firms. In addition, the survey, conducted by The European Business Awards sponsored by RSM, also shows that 40% of businesses are finding it a challenge to recruit for these new positions.

The main reasons cited for the challenge are a lack of available IT and software solution specialists combined with a lack of high-level training and education available in country; market constraints that are leaving traditional sectors over-looked in favour of tech and financial sectors.

Adrian Tripp, CEO of The European Business Awards, says: “We wanted to investigate how quickly the consequences of the new wave of technology would affect the European business community and the jobs market, and we found it is not simply an issue for the future, but the impact has already begun. The concern is that as the rate of technology adoption increases the positive impact on competitiveness could become constrained by skills shortages. The increasing mismatch in the skills required and those that are available will lead to an employment crisis unless all stakeholders – business, educators and government, act now.”

The survey, which included responses from 400 leading European businesses, of all sizes and sectors from 30 plus countries, also showed that whilst technology was changing needs, it was not necessarily changing numbers. 77% of businesses said new technologies have made them more productive which has resulted in 35% of businesses increasing staff numbers overall and 44% keeping numbers the same.

The main motivators for investing in new technology (defined as new software that radically changes how something is produced or performed) were to give companies a competitive edge (57%), to solve business issues (21%) or simply to keep up with the changing market (11%).

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