Nowadays, having digital skills is essential to develop in the labor and social world. In this sense, Spain has managed to position itself in the top 6 countries with more digital skills in Europe, according to a recent report. In fact, 64% of the Spanish population has at least basic digital skills, thus exceeding the European average. In this article, we will explore the current state of digital skills in Spain, find out the details!
What are digital competencies?
According to the European Commission, digital skills involve the critical, responsible and safe use of, and interaction with, digital technologies for learning, working and participating in society.
These competencies arise from the combination of knowledge, technical skills and attitudes, such as the ability to search, select and evaluate information sources on the Internet. Also, the use of devices such as computers, cell phones and tablets, and responsibility in the use of digital technologies.
In recent years, numerous frameworks, research and studies have been developed to identify the skills needed for different population groups, such as teachers, civil servants and young people.
In this regard, the European Union’s Coalition for Jobs and Digital Skills has identified four pillars of action for the development of these skills:
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What is the status of basic digital skills in Spain?
The first of a series of publications of the Digital Agenda Spain 2026, focused on Digital Skills, has been published by the National Observatory of Technology and Society (ONTSI).
According to the report:
- Spain exceeds the European average in terms of digital skills, with 64% of the population having at least basic skills, placing it in sixth place, surpassing countries such as France (62%), Germany (49%) and Italy (46%). The goal is for 80% of the citizenry to acquire these skills, and half of them are women.
- The Ministry of Education and Vocational Training has published the “Sistema Estatal de Indicadores de la Educación (SEIE)”, which gathers the main data of the Spanish education system.
- Among the data highlighted is that 84.8% of Spanish young people between 16 and 24 years of age possess basic digital skills in 2021, which represents an increase of 14% compared to the European average of 71%.
- Melilla, Madrid and the Valencian Community are the autonomous communities with the highest percentages of population with basic or advanced digital skills, with 73%, 72% and 68.2% respectively.
This means that Spain is in an outstanding position within the European Union in terms of the development of the digital skills of its citizens, exceeding the average in this area.
Gaps by age
According to the study, there has been significant progress in Spain in terms of the gender digital divide, with a difference of only three percentage points between men and women.
Sixty-three percent of women have basic or higher global digital skills, while for men the figure is 66%. These results place Spain in sixth place in the European Union ranking in terms of gender equality in the digital sphere.
However, as in the rest of the European Union, the largest digital skills gaps occur according to age, with a 58-point disadvantage between the older and younger population. Occupation is the second factor with the largest gap, with a 49-point difference between the non-working population and students.
It is important to note that more than 50% of the unemployed have basic or advanced digital skills.
It is concluded that it is essential to ensure equitable access to the acquisition of digital skills in all sectors of the population, in order to reduce existing inequalities in the ability to meet the challenges and advantages offered by the digital economy.
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How is the level of basic digital skills measured?
The level of basic digital capabilities is measured through different studies and surveys that assess the degree of knowledge and skills of people in the use of digital technologies and is divided into the following specific dimensions:
- Information and data literacy.
- Communication and collaboration.
- Creation of digital content.
- Troubleshooting and safety.
The level of digital competence of a person is established according to the number of tasks he/she can perform satisfactorily in each dimension. This assessment ranges from “not assessable” to “above basic”. Consequently, the more tasks that can be performed satisfactorily, the higher the level of digital competence.
In order to achieve the objectives set, the implementation of the National Digital Skills Plan, which is part of the Digital Spain strategy for the period 2021-2024 and which has a total investment of 3,593 million euros, began.
It seeks to close the digital divide and to further promote digital skills in society, employment, digital technology professionals and education.
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Spain is in a leading position in terms of digital skills, and is making great progress in reducing the gender gap in this area. However, there is still a long way to go to reach the target of 80% of the population with digital skills by 2030.
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