Source: EIB Investment Survey 2021
Widening gap between digital and non-digital firms
The coronavirus pandemic, while stimulating digitalisation across the board, has also widened the digital divide among firms to some extent. 26% of EU firms have not invested in the digital transformation. These firms may need stronger or specific policy support to maintain their competitiveness and avoid falling behind during the economic recovery. At the other end of the spectrum, 61% of EU firms have already adopted advanced digital technologies.
Firm size plays a key role in the corporate digital divide. Larger firms are much more likely to be on the right (or digital) side of the corporate digital divide. If policymakers want to close the gap in adoption rates between EU and US firms, they need to help European firms grow to a sufficient size.
Among its top policy recommendations, the report highlights that
- targeted financial support for smaller and medium-sized companies has proved effective in increasing their readiness to undertake transformative investment during the pandemic;
- for non-digital firms, advice on funding and consistent regulation would the best way to support their digital investments;
- improving skills and retraining need to be key policy targets to tackle the looming problem of reallocation in the labour market, avoiding a scenario where workers become trapped, on a large scale, in firms failing to adapt.
About the EIB Investment Survey
The annual EIB Group Survey on Investment and Investment Finance (EIBIS) is an EU-wide survey that gathers qualitative and quantitative information on investment activities by small businesses (with between five and 250 employees) and larger corporates (with more than 250 employees), their financing requirements and the difficulties they face.
The current edition collected data from approximately 13 500 businesses in total across the European Union the United Kingdom and the United States between April to July 2021. Using a stratified sampling methodology, EIBIS is representative across
- all Member States of the European Union and the US;
- firm size classes (micro to large);
- four main sectors (manufacturing, services, construction and infrastructure).
The survey is designed to build a panel of observations to support time series analysis, and these observations can also be linked to firm balance sheet and profit and loss data. EIBIS has been developed and is managed by the Economics Department of the EIB, with support for development and implementation by Ipsos MORI.
Find out more: EIB Investment Survey (EIBIS) — Details
About the European Investment Bank
The European Investment Bank (EIB) is one of the largest multilateral providers of climate finance worldwide and recently announced that it will unlock and support €1 trillion of investment in climate action and environmental sustainability in the decade to 2030. At least 50% of EIB finance will go towards climate action and environmental sustainability by 2025. By the end of 2020, all EIB Group financing activities will be aligned with the goals of the Paris Agreement.
Find out more about EIB research: Our research (eib.org)