On May 15, 2018, we intervened before the Citizens Affairs Committee of the Cortes de Aragon to translate our analysis and proposals on the Opportunities and Challenges of a Digital Leading Aragon. Here we share a video of the intervention, as well as the text of our first exhibition.
Madam President of the Commission, ladies and gentlemen, In these next minutes we will transfer accurate and relevant information about the opportunities and challenges that the Digitalization of the Society and the Economy bring to Aragon, as well as we will share with you some possible ways of progress, to subject them to their revision and maturation, if they estimate it convenient.
Our cluster, IDiA, was born in 2004 as a collaborative initiative that brought together the IT departments of highly innovative companies and institutions in Aragon. Today we have 81 members from multiple sectors, type and size, linked mainly by their intensive use of digital technologies. Our combined turnover amounted to 15,800 million euros in 2016, employing 67,000 people, around 16,000 of them ICT professionals.
We believe we can affirm that our prestige is well established at a national and international level. IDiA has held since 2013 the presidency of the National Federation of Innovative Business Groups and Clusters. We are members of the Executive Committee for the Digital Innovation Hubs organized by the Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness. We participate in the European Committee for Cluster Excellence, and co-lead, together with a representative from Canada, the working group “Intelligent digital ecosystems through clusters” of TCI, the main global network in competitiveness, clusters and innovation.
In 2015, the Aragonese Employment Institute commissioned IDiA to draft the “ICT Employment Training Needs Study in Aragón”. In it, several important realities were already collected:
- 69% of ICT employment, estimated globally in about 18,000 people in Aragon, is concentrated outside the ICT sector. This percentage observes a growing trend year after year, due to the progressive digitization of the entire economy, a process that requires the incorporation of digitally trained professionals in all types of companies.
- 47% of companies in Zaragoza already found serious difficulties in hiring professionals trained in digital technologies.
This lack of ICT professionals has grown dramatically. We believe that hiring difficulties are now suffered by almost 100% of companies.
Some current figures collected within IDiA:
- We need immediately 200 professionals that we do not find in the labor market. Not incorporating them means delaying or preventing the development of important business projects.
- This year 2018 we will need 1,300 professionals.
- To this figure we must add 540 more professionals, estimated based on our precise knowledge of several opportunities for installation or expansion of companies in Aragon.
- Every day about 700 job offers are published in Aragón, the vast majority coming from companies outside our region, seeking to extract from Aragon the talent they need and that is so scarce.
- Faced with this demand, close to 1000 people by 2018, the University of Zaragoza has graduated this last year about 90 graduates, combining Computer Engineering and Communication Technologies.
Aragón is an extremely attractive region for the innovative and digital company, for many reasons. In addition to enjoying a high quality of life, we are known for the activity and quality of our business ecosystem, which enjoys a valued peace and social understanding. Together with the prestige already achieved by our ICT ecosystem and our geostrategic position, we now have a great opportunity: to position Aragon among the European leaders in terms of digital technological development, creating wealth for our society through this path. high added value jobs.
But to take advantage of this opportunity and not succumb to external competition, we must cultivate, retain and attract Digital Talent, understood in a broad sense: we not only look for computer engineers: also economists, physicists, creatives, doctors … with full capabilities to fully exploit the tools that ICTs provide them.
In our opinion, we need a commitment that involves as many agents as possible. We have been working in this way during the last year, involving in the process of strategic reflection more than 70 people, experts from multiple entities and areas of knowledge, in a group that we have called “eLeadership”.
We want here to publicly thank the very active participation in this group of representatives not only of the companies and institutions attached to IDiA, but also of other organizations such as the INAEM, the Aragonese Institute of Youth or the Cardenal Xavierre School, among many others, in addition of the personal involvement of prominent experts such as Marta Mouliáa.
The result of more than a hundred meetings are the reflections and proposals that Antonio Novo will share with you.
Given the extension of the challenge, we divided the eLeadership group into four committees: vocational promotion, training, recruitment and employability.
We start with these ideas:
- We do not find ICT professionals unemployed in Aragón. As an example, of a recent package of 9 job offers from one partner, 8 were deserted, without candidates.
- The presence of women is especially reduced in our area, 10 percent on average. Increasing it will significantly benefit the quality of equipment and projects. Of special interest are also people with disabilities who do not have to hinder their employability in the ICT field.
- There are numerous isolated initiatives, of high value in themselves, but which are clearly insufficient overall. We must approach this problem in a comprehensive, methodical and planned manner.
Rosa Esteban, responsible for Development and Performance in the Sesé Group, leads the vocational promotion commission.
You do not want what you do not know. Despite the full placement, ICT Professional Training only covered 72% of its offer last June. Our society does not have adequate information about the variety, interest and projection of the ICT professional profiles. In addition to the “classic” programmer, we are looking for team and project managers, digital creatives, business consultants, data scientists, analysts in all kinds of activities …
We propose to develop a broad Communication and Outreach Plan.
Those interested in this sector are already captured. We must address those who do not imagine themselves as “computer”, facilitating their preparation. One way to deal with the problem in the short term is by digitally training professionals from other fields. Who better than an economist for financial analysis, a journalist for communication on the web and social networks, or an industrial engineer to improve production processes?
The Aragonese Radio and Television Corporation could play an important role in this work, reaching all of our territory.
For our part, we have launched in collaboration with the Aragonese Youth Institute a series of informative workshops for young people from all over Aragon, called “Wake up your ICT profession”. With direct participation of companies such as Adidas, Alliance Healthcare, BSH, Deloitte, Grupo Sesé, Quelinka or Schindler, these workshops have already been developed in Valderrobres, Fuentes and Monzón, and soon in Andorra, Caspe, Daroca, Hijar, Huesca, Illueca, Jaca, La Almunia, Teruel and Zaragoza.
The school is a fundamental agent. According to the National Institute of Educational Technologies and Teacher Training, nationally only 20% of schools are digitally competent. In that group only between 20 and 25 percent of teachers are confident in the use of digital tools. Thus, only 5 percent of students in Spain receive training from digitally competent teachers and colleges.
We must ensure the digital competence of teachers. We support the creation of a certification that is taken into account in the scale of teaching positions in the interim regime of the Government of Aragon. We study contributions to the Order Project on the Framework of Digital Teacher Competence, now in a period of public consultation from the Ministry of Education.
Teachers need intensive support in this process. During the crisis the number of CIFEs, Centers of Innovation and Educational Training, was reduced in Aragon from 12 to 4. We propose to reinforce them and offer support accompanying their innovation programs.
We work with the Faculty of Education. We support the new Master’s Degree in Digital Competences for Teachers. We are partners in the European project Long Life Learning Transversalis on Dual Training in Higher Education. We will offer internships and TFMs in company to the students of the Master in Labor Orientation.
We propose to create a center or university institute dedicated to Educational Innovation, as well as to develop more Educational Innovation Projects or Educational Research, coordinated from the University, endorsed by companies and applied in educational centers.
Fernando Cornago, Director of Platforms Engineering in Adidas, leads the training commission, understood as Permanent Digital Education, constant companion of our pre-professional and professional life.
The offer of places in FP is not completed. Women only cover 9% of them. We must promote ICT Professional Training. We will explore with your managers the definition of “ICT Specialization Programs” linked to dual FP.
The situation is the reverse at the university level. Ingeniería Informática received 300 applications last year in Zaragoza for only 90 available positions. We request the urgent extension of places. As the rector José Antonio Mayoral moved us, they study its extension to the maximum that the current physical space allows, perhaps reaching 150. This measure, in any case, must go through the budgetary approval of the Government of Aragon. And even then, it will be insufficient. As an example, the University of Granada admits 450 ICT students every year. Does Aragón want to stay behind? Or should we provide our University with the necessary means to train the number of graduates required for the economic development of our region?
But it is not enough to train them, and then suffer a drain of talent due to the aggressive recruitment campaigns that are developed here by others without headquarters or local infrastructure. We have agreed to our active presence so that young graduates know first-hand the very interesting working conditions offered by companies committed to Aragon.
We also studied new master’s degrees, some modular, which can be studied in different years, in a format of 30 credits, accumulating their recognition and facilitating their realization from the workplace. Or double degrees, like the one that would combine economic and computer science. Even a possible new degree in European format, 3 years of degree plus 2 master’s degrees, with a broad period of internship in business.
In the field of training for Employment we must recognize the great work of the Center for Advanced Technologies, under the INAEM, leader of the commission on recruitment and training.
Maintaining technological leadership means responding to a very specific problem of this profession: the enormous speed of the continuous technological advance. The CTA has managed to address this challenge in an exemplary manner. A large part of the growth capacity and attractiveness of Aragón is due to the outstanding qualification level of our workers, with access to such specialized, permanent and strategic training that has made us truly excellent at leading international projects.
It is sad to see that we do not have the people we need to grow at the moment we attract more business and of better quality. We study actions aimed at providing digital training to hundreds of Aragonese people during the next months, some of them in collaboration with Fundación Ibercaja. We applaud the measures of the Government of Aragon for the improvement of young employment, such as the programs for the re-qualification of young talent to strategic sectors. We believe that these programs should be reinforced in the future. We offer full collaboration for this. We see it very interesting to provide INAEM with an orientation team specialized in the ICT profession, who knows in detail their needs and is able to identify the best candidates for their training, guiding them and supporting them in their training itinerary.
All these measures, taken to their best and most urgent development, would not be enough to cover the needs of our economy.
We must attract talent, repatriate professionals and recruit employees wherever they are available.
Every external candidate seeks information about living conditions in Aragon: relative cost, price of rents, quality of the education system, leisure and enjoyment. But you will not find it: that information, grouped, is not published on the internet. We need a web portal that exposes the world the advantages of working in our region. It could be part of a Aragonese Digital Community, an interactive portal that acts as a main reference in Aragon, and that we offer to create from a public-private initiative.
We also propose to create a digital quality brand for Aragón. It could show Aragonese capabilities in Artificial Intelligence, an area in which we already highlighted and of high interest for our development.
In this line, we promote the creation of a Digital Innovation Hub in Artificial Intelligence, focused on the provision of services and intelligent solutions for all economic and social sectors. To make it a reality, the involvement of public administrations is necessary.
Maite Latasa, Director of Human Resources of CONASA, leads the employability commission, focused on promoting job satisfaction, creating motivated and committed teams.
We study methodologies to increase that professional satisfaction and the pride of belonging, counting on excellent references in our region, for example, Adidas.
We developed a study on salary levels, advantages and working conditions for ICT professionals in Aragon, whose results we hope will be another factor in attracting talent to our region.
These are our reflections and proposals, which we offer in the hope that they will be useful in the design of policies that take advantage of this excellent development opportunity for our beloved region, Aragón.
Thank you all.
Press release of the Cortes de Aragón: https://www.cortesaragon.es/Nota-de-prensa.712+M5179e302938.0.html