Lack of ICT skills worsens Dutch recession

Nieuws | de redactie
12 maart 2012 | Every year, the Dutch economy loses €19.3 billion in productivity due to low quality ICT networks or a lack of relevant skills in working with them. Older employees and those trained in special workshops are most efficient, a research by the University of Twente shows.

The University of Twente (UoT) published “CTRL ALT DELETE”, a report indicating that the Dutch economy loses€19.3 billion in productivity on a yearly basis due to low qualityICT networks or a lack of relevant skills in working with them.”For the Netherlands this is particularly harmful as the country’sproductivity growth was mostly relying on advances in ICT in thepast,” it says in the analysis.

Insufficient skills, unreliableinfrastructures

In real working time this is equivalent to 7,6% or 27 minutesand 37 seconds that are lost per employee every day on average. Examples cited as problematic are slowly operating computers,unavailable or malfunctioning servers and an overall inefficientuse of computer and communication systems.

Given the current fragile state of the Dutch economy, thisinsight is especially worrisome. In the last quarter of 2011, thelocal economy shrank by 0.7%. Last February, first estimates statethat this trend worsened by another 1,4%. Digital Agenda EUCommissioner, Neelie Kroes, recognized this issue as well andspread the report via social media on Twitter.

Age and training of employees have positiveeffect

The research also had a closer look at what type of people loseout the most on ICT skills. Here, a clear trend can be seen foremployees with a lower educational background (productivity loss upto 10%). By contrast, the UoT researchers find that people in theoldest age category (52-67) fare the best. This might have to dowith the phenomenon that older employees are more inclined torequest help from the company’s IT help desk.

The report urges businesses to respond by investing more intofunctioning ICT infrastructures and employee trainings. Only 22% ofthe firms participating in the research had schooled theiremployees in ICT workshops over the last 3 years. Meanwhile, thesemeasures seemed particularly effective given that participantsshowed an average time gain of 33 minutes per day.

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