ONLY 23% OF BULGARIANS HAVE DIGITAL SKILLS, KNSB WILL SUPPORT ITS MEMBERS IN ACQUIRING THEM
The use of rapidly evolving digital tools, applications, and systems is crucial for adapting to the modern demands of the labor market. At the same time, it is a challenge that stands before each of us and the entire society to keep up with technological advancements. In recent years, it has reached such dimensions globally that possessing digital skills has become important in every aspect of our lives.
That is why KNSB is closely monitoring the data on the level of digital skills in Bulgaria. According to Eurostat, our country ranks fourth from the bottom in the EU (behind Italy, Poland, and Romania) in terms of the percentage of the population with basic digital skills – 23.4%, compared to the EU average of 27.5%. Only 7.8% of individuals possess skills beyond the basic level (EU average: 26.5%). In terms of the share of individuals without any digital competencies, we only fare better than Romania (10.13%) – in Bulgaria, their share is 6.2%, while the EU average is 3%. Bulgaria also tops the negative ranking in terms of the share of the population that has not used the internet in the last three months and thus cannot have their digital skills and competencies evaluated – 24.7% compared to the EU average of 11%.
According to the National Statistical Institute (NSI), around 13% of Bulgarians have never used the internet, with the Northwestern region at 16% and the Southwestern region at 7.6%. An analysis of digital skills in 16 economic sectors in the country showed that only 19% of the workforce has digital competence for their respective positions. Against this backdrop, over 90% of job positions require specific types of digital skills.
The challenges of lifelong learning and limited investment in education delay the efforts of the EU to bridge the digital skills gap by 2030, according to representatives and experts from the EU who advocate for urgent support in enhancing skills and requalification for people of all ages. According to an OECD study, education remains low in many countries due to high costs and differences in quality, emphasizing the need for increased public investment in lifelong learning.
In light of all these data highlighting the critically low level of digital skills among Bulgarian citizens and the dramatic mismatch with the needs of the labor market, the government recently approved the possibility of funding digital and other key competencies. For the first time, training programs to acquire a specific level of digital competence will be financed.
With their experience, knowledge, and skills, KNSB (Confederation of Independent Trade Unions in Bulgaria) and the Institute for Social and Syndicate Research and Training will support the Bulgarian workforce in the process of acquiring these essential digital skills. The confederation will provide free training opportunities to all its members as well as anyone interested, across the entire country.
Digital skills for all