• Barcelona Digital Talent brought together national and international experts today to discuss the challenges posed by the digital talent gap
  • The conference featured the economist Carl Benedikt Frey, co-director of the Programme on Technology and Employment at the Oxford Martin School (Oxford University) and advisor for the OECD and the UN on digitalisation issues, and John Herlihy, vice-president for EMEA and Latin America at LinkedIn
  • LinkedIn presented the results obtained from applying its Economic Graph tool in the city of Barcelona and concluded that 30% of the city’s digital professionals come from other countries

Barcelona, 27 March 2019.- Barcelona Digital Talent, the public-private partnership to position the city of Barcelona as a digital talent hub, held the Barcelona Digital Talent Day 2019 today. This was a day of reflection to debate on how to fight the digital talent gap and tackle the future of employment.

The start of the day included a speech by Gerardo Pisarello, deputy major of Barcelona City Hall, who highlighted the fact that “our city is considered a ‘first-rate’ technology hub”, where the digital economy is a strategic sector that generates “more stable jobs than on average in all other sectors, and with salaries way above the city’s average”. Along these lines, the deputy mayor indicated that one of the challenges is to promote skilled digital talent, especially among women. He also indicated that the Council has “designed and implemented new programmes to promote digital talent, to respond to this new situation”. From this viewpoint, he acknowledged the initiative because the promoting of this talent “is a challenge that must reach beyond municipal policies and find the complicity of the city’s entire public and private ecosystem”. David Ferrer, Secretary of Telecommunications, Cybersecurity and Digital Society at the Department of Digital Policies of the Regional Government of Catalonia, stated that “to ensure the competitiveness of Catalonia and Barcelona as a tech hub, we must be able to generate, retain and attract the digital talent demanded by the sector. The Regional Government is promoting programmes to foster the technological vocations that will have an impact in the long term, but the impulse of this partnership involving the main public and private players of the country’s digital ecosystem is essential to respond to the needs of the sector in the short and medium term, with the shared goal of positioning Catalonia and Barcelona as a Capital of Digital Talent”. Lastly, Carlos Grau, CEO of Mobile World Capital Barcelona, underlined the need to generate a mass of digital professionals necessary to respond to the demand for digital talent both in Barcelona and internationally. Grau indicated that “demand exceeds the number of active professionals with the necessary digital skills to provide what the market requires. This represents a real limit for the development of businesses and, therefore, Barcelona Digital Talent is working towards reducing the talent gap and generating new professional and economic opportunities”.

The event included an introductory speech by Carl Benedikt Frey, co-director of the Programme on Technology and Employment at the Oxford Martin School and advisor for the OECD and the UN on digitalisation issues. Benedikt’s speech focused on the transition of industrial nations to digital economies and the subsequent challenges for economic growth, employment markets and human development. Following the introductory speech, three round tables were held to debate on the future of employment and the needs for digital talent in Barcelona, Spain and the world.

Major companies, innovation hubs, technology providers and startups reflected on the needs of the digital ecosystem in Barcelona. Along these lines, companies such as Nestlé, SEAT and T-Systems explained the impact of the imbalance caused by the lack of digital professionals in Barcelona and their difficulties in attracting talent. In this context, they highlighted the fact that jobs related to digital profiles have increased over recent years and indicated that the trend will not wane. The conference also brought together different international experts from the United Kingdom, Ireland and Denmark, as well as from Spain, to discuss the strategies being implemented to attract, improve and retain digital talent.

30% of Barcelona’s digital professionals come from other countries

Within the context of the Barcelona Digital Talent Day, LinkedIn presented an X-ray of the state of digital talent in Barcelona. The presentation was given by prominent professionals of LinkedIn, such as John Herlihy, vice-president for EMEA and Latin America, Sarah Harmon, managing director for Spain and Portugal, and Mirek Pospisil, European director of Public Policies. “Thanks to the density of its population and the diversity of its citizens, Barcelona is a strategic city. The city has become a pole of attraction for digital talent. In fact, 30% of its technology professionals come from other cities. In this sense, we are committed to the Barcelona Digital Talent initiative, which seeks to empower the city as a centre of technological talent”, explained Harmon.

The social network extracted data using its Economic Graph tool, a solution designed to help governments around the globe in creating economic opportunities for their citizens. Economic Graph provides a digital representation of the global economy based on data from 610 million members, 50,000 professional skills, 30 million companies, over 20 million vacancies and 90,000 educational centres. In short, all the data of LinkedIn. By processing this data, each member of the social network, companies, school, etc. detects market trends such as talent migration, the recruitment rate of professionals or the most highly demanded skills per region. By processing and learning from this data, and associating with governments and organisations worldwide, LinkedIn is helping to connect people with economic opportunities.