Results and Conclusions of the Survey on EUCIP Core Certificate among Economic Stakeholders

Introducing and implementing the EUCIP Core training programme can only be efficient and successful if young professionals completing the training have a chance to be employed not only in Europe but also in Hungary. In the framework of the I-TShape project, the Pest County Foundation for Enterprise Promotion (PFEP) undertook to survey Hungarian stakeholders of the economy to assess the infrastructural background of various businesses, the status of this infrastructure, the conditions of its operation and the expectations towards professionals who operate and develop it. The results and conclusions of the survey are important for us, as we can use them in designing a training programme tailored to the needs of the Hungarian market demands that and then integrating it into the vocational training system in Hungary.

The survey used a questionnaire with 15 questions. Respondents could fill in the survey online, on a voluntarily basis and anonymously. The survey was sent out to the regular contacts of the PFEP, corresponding to more than 600 organisations. Less than 10% of them (56 respondents) filled in the questionnaire yet we think we could collect useful information and opinions that can be relied on when designing the training programme.

Questions in the first part of the questionnaire, questions were supposed to facilitate the interpretation and evaluation of those related to professional issues. Questions were related to the legal form of the  organisation, number of staff, economic sector and scope of the activities as well as the position, age and gender of the responding person as these latter factors may bias the attitude of respondents. One third of the participants were women and two thirds men. This ratio is considered ”favourable” regarding today’s „masculine” trends in the composition of top management, in the IT sector in particular. More than 70% of respondents held positions in the top management (chief executives, business managers, marketing directors, IT directors, managing directors, heads of sales, heads of financing, etc.). From the respondents, 52% were older than 50, 45% fell into the age group of 30-50 and only 5% were younger than 30.

The distribution of responding organisations regarding business sectors approached the typical sectorial distribution of companies in Hungary (see the graph below).








Fig. 1. Sectorial distribution of responding organisations

The distribution according to number of staff of Hungarian businesses is also well represented by respondents. More than 95% of the participants belonged to the group of micro enterprises and SMEs and less than 5% were big companies.

Assessing the IT infrastructure of organisations, the activities where such tools and structures were used and the method of use were considered important. As illustrated by Fig. 3, more than 70% of the respondents applied PCs and had internet connection; more than 60% used networks of peripherals. However, less than 50% of the participants used PCs in a connected setup (network), while only 10% of the respondents had intranet and operated web servers.

We also wanted to collect information on the current status of existing IT tools and equipment. Our impressions here are actually quite positive; more than 70% of the organisations modernised their hardware and software stock within the last 3 years.

According to our results, the existing IT infrastructure is typically used for administration (82%). About 50% of the respondents used software packages for finances, accounting and payroll calculations, customer and client registry, document management and maintaining registries. Unfortunately, IT systems are not widely used yet in high level company processes such as designing and controlling production and manufacturing, human resource management, project management, logistics, PR, marketing and quality assurance. In these fields, the rate of IT users was below 20%. The use of integrated company management systems was reported in less than 10% of the cases.

Regarding the importance of IT tools and technology in operating and developing organisations, 63% considered it very important or essential, 34% said IT applications facilitate daily work and only 3% thought IT use had only minimum effect on their work.

We also asked the participants about the actual solutions regarding system administration and other IT tasks, i.e. whether they employ professionals for the purpose or hire subcontractors and what qualifications they set as criteria for performing such tasks.

One fifth of the respondents employ full time IT experts and about 30% hire subcontractors to perform IT tasks with long term contract or on a case by case basis.

As Fig. 6 shows, system administration and other IT tasks are performed by people with specialised college degrees at about 60% of the respondents. In about 30% of the cases, the experts performing these tasks have special secondary qualifications. At one fifth of the organisations, the employed IT experts do not have relevant degrees.

According to the results of the survey, participants employ IT experts to facilitate the operation of users’ PCs and mailing systems and to manage web pages. Subcontractors are typically hired to develop software tools or web pages or to provide web server or storage services. Network servers and systems are operated by employees and subcontractors in about 50-50%, respectively; the same applies to regular hardware and software maintenance, backup tasks and IT development.

Our most important question regarding the EUCIP Core training programme was related to the importance participants gave to the knowledge, abilities, skills and competences listed by us in relation to IT experts. According to the results, 80% of respondents think it to be essential for IT experts to be familiar with modern IT tools, technologies and should be able to install, use, operate and maintain these. Being aware of the relevant legal and ethical aspects is considered almost as important. The rate of those who expect IT experts to make recommendations IT developments to support particular operation processes is lower (67%). Competences beyond the strictly professional ones with special regard to English as a language for special purposes as well as independence and problem solving are considered important or essential by 80%.

The questionnaire also included a part where participants could make comments or recommendations regarding the training programme. From these comments, the following were considered particularly useful:

  •  The training should focus on practical solutions and include personal motivation exercises.
  •  Typically, IT experts can either assist in developing own software solutions or in the application of generally available software packages. Experts who have the field specific knowledge and are able to provide advice in finding customised alternatives of commercially available packages are missing.
  • The training should be held in English.
  • The training programme should be designed in a way that it can be later incorporated into higher education, as part of the curriculum for college degrees or second degrees.

We may summarise the results and experiences of the survey as follows (conclusions are obviously not inclusive):

  1. Most organisations use software packages for administration, document and data management, maintaining registries, finances, accounting and payroll calculations, customer and client registry. Hence, IT developments are implemented in these fields. It is rarely assessed, however, if these developments optimise internal business or operation processes.
  2. The most important aspect of IT development is usually modernising existing tools and systems, thus developments are scheduled according to the amortisation of these.
  3. The rate of respondents considering ICT essential hardly reached two thirds. A potential reason for this is that participants are not fully aware of the potentials ICT offers for their organisations.
  4. Most organisations rely on the IT services of people with college or university degrees. However, the rate of employees with such qualifications is only about 20% while employees with secondary qualifications make up for about 30%.
  5. Organisations show a demand for customised consultations by well prepared IT experts to receive practical help for IT applications and developments facilitating efficient operation.

Our conclusions and recommendations based on the summary are as follows:

  1. As only few with a special intermediate degree are employed by organisations, an EUCIP Core training with contents somewhat different compared to previous trainings should be introduced into intermediate vocational education specialised at ITC. As a result, graduates could replace experts with higher education degrees in certain fields while the training could also serve as a suitable base for professional development.
  2. When designing the EUCIP Core training programme, having courses or exams in English should also be considered.
  3. The training programme should particularly emphasis practical solutions and the development of extra competences such as independence, problem solving or team working.
  4. When designing the EUCIP Core training programme, its potential incorporation into tertiary vocational training in the future.

The issue 6. edited by Gábor Bujáki, from Enterprise Development Foundation in Pest County. You can read more about it here:

Newsletter issue 6.