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Swiss Digitals Days tackles IT talent shortage

The 2022 edition of the annual Swiss Digital Days national tour will this year attempt to foster greater enthusiasm for IT skills among school children.

The IT industry and education sector has long identified a shortage of young IT talent as a problem for Switzerland. One study suggests the talent crunch could cost the country CHF30 billion ($30.5 billion) by 2030.

“This corresponds to the annual added value generated to the economy by entire insurance industry,” Event organisers warned. If Switzerland gains an international reputation as an IT wasteland, it could dissuade talent coming to the country from abroad, they added.

“We feel the shortage of skilled workers keenly,” said Rainer Baumann, Group COO for supermarket chain Migros. “We currently have five times more open jobs than two years ago, and it takes twice as long to fill each position. If the Swiss economy wants to remain technologically competitive, then business, politics and education must act now. For example, we need to actively create more apprenticeships.”

Swiss Digital Days, which kicked off on Monday for a seven-week tour of 19 locations, is an annual event that stages workshops – or ‘bubbles’ – in various places around the country. The hope is that these interactive demonstrations will encourage more youngsters to take up IT as a career.

One of the events, called swissp[AI]nt, will tap into the emerging technology of the blockchain – databases that house non-fungible tokens (NFTs), which represent physical or digital objects.

People will be encouraged to design artistic images on a touchscreen that will be merged into a collage and turned into an NFT, which will be auctioned off for a good cause.

Individual artworks could also be taken by Swiss Post to create the third edition of its popular Crypto Stamp collection.

Digitalswitzerland and youth organisation Pro Juventute are collaborating to strengthen the MINT skills (mathematics, IT, natural sciences & technology), basic digital knowledge and social skills of youngsters around the country.