According to Jürgenson, the study revealed two main problematic areas in education.
“The first thing we found is that contrary to popular belief, not all parts of the ICT sector are plagued by a shortage of labour,â€ she explained. “We primarily lack professionals who are able to develop software at an advanced level and people who can administer databases and systems.â€
Jürgenson went on to say that the supply of labour does not necessarily meet the need. “In the case of higher education, the aggregate figures remain in the same category, but the proportions could change: we should focus more on training people for the professions mentioned above. In the case of vocational education, it could happen that supply exceeds demand and schools fail to offer what employers need.â€
“Secondly, the quality of ICT education offered in Estonia has failed to keep up with the increase in the number of students, especially in vocational education, but there are problems in higher education as well,â€ said Jürgenson. “The general competences level of our ICT teachers is really not up to scratch.â€ She added that the communication, presentation, self-management and project management skills of graduates are often modest.
The study highlights that employers expect ICT education in institutions of higher education to be more practical. The situation could be improved through a better work placement system for ICT students, as employers are not satisfied with the way these are currently organised in either vocational or higher education. “This isnâ€™t news to anyone, and employers therefore expect to finally see the system thoroughly updated, as the achievement and announcement of small steps of success doesnâ€™t cut it,â€ said Jürgenson.
The study focussed on the need for ICT specialists in the ICT sector and in other areas of activity. There are currently 16,300 such specialists in Estonia, aroundhalf of whom work in the ICT sector and half in other areas. A labour demand forecast for the ICT sector was prepared considering current labour proportions, labour turnover elasticity and the future scenarios of the sector. It was found that the number of additional workers required to fill positions requiring professional ICT qualifications until 2020 is up to 4,500 in the ICT sector and 6,600-8,500 in the economy as a whole, both depending on growth scenarios.
A summary of the study is available online at link (in english) and the full version at link (in estonian).
The study was carried out with the support of the â€˜Estonian higher education information and communications technology and research and development activities state programme 2011-2015â€™ (ICTP) and the European Regional Development Fund via the Estonian ICT Cluster.