Article

Strengths and weaknesses of Spain’s economy with regard to the challenge of digitalisation

R. Alós, F. Miguélez, O. Molina, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

Despite a good position in terms of connectivity and digital public services, the lack of adaptation to the digital economy of small- and medium-sized companies, and shortfalls in the training of human capital, mean that the challenges and uncertainties posed by digitalisation are especially high in Spain.
Key points
  • 1
       Within the EU, Spain is situated in 10th position with regard to digitalisation. It exceeds the European average for connectivity and stands out in its integration of digital technology and in digital public services, but it remains at a low position in terms of human capital and in the use of Internet services.
  • 2
       The production model, a shortfall in investment effort in RDI, a lack of entrepreneurship in its business culture and high precarity in employment conditions represent Spain’s weak points with regard to the challenge of digitalisation.
  • 3
       The training of workers, especially of young people; the investment appeal of some cities; the digital and connection infrastructures, and good digital public administration are strong points for Spain’s digital economy.
Education, production model and investments require improvement
Education, production model and investments require improvement

Barely 55% of people aged between 16 and 74 years have basic digital skills and specialists in Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) represent only 3% of the employed population, which places Spain in 19th position among the 28 member states of the EU. These important deficits arise in part from the education system, but also from a production model that is based on a high number of unstable jobs. In fact, the weight of the ICT sector in gross domestic product (GDP) is situated far below the average of the EU (in the year 2015 Spain occupied 20th position out of 28 member states). In the same sense, whereas the majority of EU countries have increased their investments in RDI since the peak of the crisis, in Spain investment has fallen from 1.35% of GDP in 2010 to 1.21% in 2017.

In line with these data, some 38.5% of experts surveyed point out the production model as the weakest point, whereas 27.4% consider that it is the education system that has the longest way to go. In contrast, the high rating of workers’ skills, training and adaptability (43.3%) constitutes a strong point that makes it possible to face the challenge with a certain degree of optimism.

Classification

Tags

Subject areas

Related content

Activity

Series of seminars: Connected society, isolated individuals

Hyperconnected yet more isolated than ever before? This series of seminars debates on the role of technology in our social relations.

Activity

Series of seminars: Algorithms and bias

Algorithms, created to be used in artificial intelligence, also reproduce stereotypes and prejudices. We reflect on this during this series of seminars.

Report

Job uncertainty and income redistribution preferences

The duality between temporary and permanent contracts conditions the labour market in Spain and causes differences in job security and income. What impact does this have on people’s redistribution preferences?

Report

Disability, inequality and income redistribution

What is the economic impact of disability? This report shows that households with at least one member with disability present lower income levels.

Report

Capital income and income inequality in Spain, 1980-2020

Why does Spain present income inequality levels higher than the European average? Differences in income between age groups and the concentration of capital among the richest groups are some of the causes.

You may also find interesting

Percentage of people who view themselves as above their parents or grandparents on the social ladder

Infodata

Percentage of people who view themselves as above their parents or grandparents on the social ladder


Social Inclusion

Some 29% of Spaniards have a social position above that of their parents, and over 40% believe they have risen above their grandparents on the social ladder.

Number of generations necessary so that those born in families with low incomes can reach the average level of income in their society

Infodata

Number of generations necessary so that those born in families with low incomes can reach the average level of income in their society


Social Inclusion

In Spain, according to this indicator, it takes four generations to improve the incomes of families with precarious finances.

Fertility rate

Infodata

Fertility rate


Social Inclusion

The fertility rate in Spain is 1.23 children per woman, the second lowest rate among European Union countries.