DESI 2021 results and E(U) Leaders

What DESI is?

Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) 2021, summarises indicators on Europe’s digital performance and tracks the progress of EU countries. The European Commission has been monitoring Member States’ digital progress through the Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) reports since 2014.

Human capital – digital skills results

The 2030 target of the Digital Compass is that at least 80% of citizens have at least basic digital skills.

According to DESI 2021 results, while 84% of people used the internet regularly in 2019, only 56% possessed at least basic digital skills and only about one third of Europeans possesses above basic digital skills (31%).

An internet connection and the use of internet is not sufficient. As it seems, it must be paired with the appropriate skills to take advantage of the digital society. Digital skills range from basic usage skills that enable individuals to take part in the digital society and consume digital goods and services, to advanced skills that empower to acquire new specialised digital skills, develop new digital goods and services.

Human capital

The human capital dimension of the DESI has two sub-dimensions covering:

  • ‘internet user skills’,
  • ‘advanced skills and development’.

The former draws on the European Commission’s Digital Skills Indicator, calculated based on the number and complexity of activities involving the use of digital devices and the internet.

Let’s see the differences between 2021 and 2019, in the following figures!

Figure 1: Human capital indicators in DESI – Source: DESI.


As we can see in the above figure, the percentage of “at least basic digital skills” is higher only by 1% in 2021 than in 2019. While “above basic digital skills” is 31% in 2021, than 29% in 2019.

The percentage of “at least basic software skills” is exactly the same and the percentage that needs to be highlighted is the percentage of “enterprises providing ICT training” as in 2021 is lower (by 2%/) than in 2018.

In the next 2 figures we can see the scores of human capital dimension in 2021 and 2019.

Figure 2: Human capital dimension (Score 0-100), 2021 – Source: DESI 2021, European Commission.


Figure 3: Human capital dimension (Score 0-100), 2019 – Source: DESI.


According to the latest data, Finland is leading in Human capital, followed by Sweden, the Netherlands and Denmark. Italy, Romania and Bulgaria rank the lowest. In comparison to last year, the largest increases in Human capital were observed in Finland (+2.6 percentage points), Estonia (+1.7 percentage points) and Greece (+1.6 percentage points).

Digital skills

Since 2015, the level of digital skills has continued to grow slowly, reaching 56% of individuals having at least basic digital skills, 31% with above basic digital skills and 58% of individuals having at least basic software skills.

The skills indicators are strongly influenced by socio-demographic aspects. For example:

  • 80% of young adults (aged 16-24),
  • 84% of individuals with high formal education, and
  • 87% of students have at least basic digital skills.

By contrast, only 33% of those aged 55-74 and 28% of the retired and the inactive possess at least basic digital skills.

There is still substantial gap between rural and urban areas when looking at the digital skills of the population:

  • 48% in rural areas possess at least basic digital skills, while,
  • 62% in cities possess at least basic digital skills.

It should be noted that youth is not a determinant of digital skills and growing up in a digital world does not automatically make one digitally competent.

In the following figure you will learn about the Digital skills (% of individuals).

Figure 4 Digital skills (% of individuals), 2015-2019.


You may learn more info about DESI results here!

E(U) Leaders

The above facts and results describe the existing situation nowadays. The Covid-19 pandemic led us to a new era, the digital era. Which in many cases caused problems due to the lack of digital skills?

Leaders had to face the difficulties and create an efficient e-nviroment. It is undeniable that employment in digital era, demands many new competencies from leaders.

Aim of E(U) Leaders

The aim of our project, EU Leaders, is to foster the competitiveness and productivity of businesses and organizations, through the development of strategic e-leadership skills necessary, for the following, to manage their teams effectively and efficiently within virtual working environments:

  • entrepreneurs,
  • employers,
  • leaders,
  • managers,
  • VET trainers, educators, and mentors.

How will this be accomplished?

During our project the following e-tools will be developed:

  1. Guidebook of inclusion of best practices on suitable digital working environments.
  2. E-Leadership Model adopted within tech-based and non-tech-based organisations.
  3. e-Leaders High-tech Course.
  4. e-learning platform for Leaders.
  5. Certification framework for the e-leadership skills.

Stay tuned for more!



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