Updated on Wednesday, September 29, 2021 – 01:40
The country rises two places on the list drawn up each year by IMD, but remains in position 31, below countries such as Germany or France.
Entry of workers into the Four Towers.Bernardo Daz
After climbing two places compared to the previous year, in which it experienced a drop of five, Spain has managed to return to close to the top 30 passes in the ranking Digital Competitiveness of IMD. His 31st position is -by little- in the upper half, allows him to aspire to enter that top 30 and leaves the country ahead of other ‘rivals’ in his environment, such as Portugal, Italy or Greece, although far from European countries such as France. or Germany. As explained from business school, the foundations to continue growing are there, but to achieve this it is necessary to invest in education and have more ambition.
This list, which measures “the capacity of 64 economies for the economic transformation of companies, government and society through digital technologies” is led by the United States and certifies Asia’s commitment to technology. Hong Kong occupies the second position, Singapore is in the fifth – the third is for Sweden and the fourth, for Denmark -, Taiwan, the eighth and South Korea, the twelfth. China, in the 15th position, rises one place between 2020 and 2021 to a total of 15 in the last four years.
As for Spain, it sits in a comfortable place within the middle class, with many duties to do and some strengths to lean on. For example, the paradox between high broadband coverage and lack of digital skills is demonstrated once again: only four countries in the ranking have fewer smartphones among their population.
“Spain’s problem continues to be the lack of availability of digital talent,” he sums up Arturo Bris, Director of the IDM Center for Global Competitiveness and a teacher at the school. In any case, he believes that the government is attacking this problem “from the right point of view.” Also that the health crisis has been a push – forced – to the digitization of all countries. “In Spain, given the severity of the pandemic and that the economic impact has been greater, this has required greater technological and digital effort and this is reflected in the rankings,” he explains.
Thus, the expert emphasizes that “we have had a brutal improvement in digital infrastructures” and there is also an improvement in regulation, but talent continues to be “clearly our weak point”.
In this sense, the Resilience Plan seems a possible solution, although Bris cautions that it is not enough to throw money at the problem: “In Spain we try to solve everything with money, but it is not a question of money.” Monetary investment will help, but as long as it is done wisely because “if we put money in a bottomless hole, we are going to waste a great opportunity,” warns the expert.
Something that at the same time exemplifies this situation and could solve it is education, explains Bris. “Without a massive change in our educational system, the Resilience Plan will not have the expected impact,” he says. Therefore, although he considers that the Secretary of State for Digitization and Artificial Intelligence “is doing an impressive job”, he believes that the transformation cannot be led “only” by the Ministry of the Economy: “It is necessary, without a doubt, to start by the educational system “.
“If you give an iPad to a teacher who does not even know how to use the mouse, there is no result,” summarizes Bris. He considers that it is necessary both to invest in the educational system and to develop it so that it “responds to the demands of the labor market”. “The improvement of the educational system is something that simply needs consensus,” he argues.
However, Bris believes that Spain can advance in the ranking and even reach the top ten: “We must have a much more ambitious vision, because we can do it.” This ambition, he explains, was reflected by the Greek Minister of Technology in an event in which he assured that his objective was not to compare himself with an Italy or Portugal, but that they aspired to be like Estonia. “I think that in Spain we should have the same ambition, because we have everything it takes to be a deeply – I will not say completely – digital nation,” he argues.
Another key is, according to Bris, in investment, both public and private. Two of the most important countries in the world, China and the United States, are betting on a state financing model that Spain lacks and that is a disadvantage: “We do not have capital markets deep enough to invest in technology,” laments the professor.
Despite this, Bris recalls that Spain has a great advantage, being “a net attractor of talent”, difficult for others to reach. “In the end, what determines the attraction of talent is the quality of life in the country, in addition to the fiscal rules,” he argues. Although he does not believe that it has low taxes, he does consider that the climate, low crime or infrastructure serve as a claim. In a global scenario, in which workers trained in the country can leave it to seek employment, he believes that “we will not be one of the losing countries in the global context” and that “in fact, globalization will help us”.
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