SAP is calling on businesses to work more closely with schools and universities in equipping students with the necessary IT skills.
At a roundtable event, the enterprise application software provider discussed the skills needed in today's industry and how students can be inspired to consider a career in IT.
Debbie Forster, UK Managing Director of Apps for Good, a charity working with schools and businesses to change how technology is taught in the classroom, said there is a crucial role for the industry to play in educating students.
"Between the ages of 10 and 14, children begin to look ahead and think about their future; they even start to rule out certain careers. This is the time to open their eyes to the possibility of a future in IT. If organisations can work more collaboratively with schools they can educate young people on the opportunities available to them."
SAP, which runs the University Alliances programme and the Early Talent programme and offers an internship programme, said it supports initiatives and organisations that foster science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
Cathy Ward, EMEA head of Diversity and Early Talent at SAP, said: "Over the last few years we have seen more and more businesses move from on-premise to cloud-based models, as well as the rise of big data and mobile.
"However, these new technologies require new skills. The European Commission predicts that by 2015, Europe alone will lack a staggering 900,000 ICT practitioners.
"It is clear that something needs to be done; we cannot wait for policy to change, we must act now. As one of the largest IT organisations in the world, it is incumbent on SAP to play its part and invest in the workforce of tomorrow."
Martin Gollogly, director of the University Alliances Programme at SAP, said: "Young people need to integrate academic learning with practical opportunities to test that learning whilst they are at university. By doing this they learn what is important both academically and for themselves personally. Otherwise they run the risk of being technically qualified but being under-skilled."