The Expanding IT Workforce Across the Globe
25 June 2019 The number of people working in different areas of IT around the world is vast. In this article we will attempt to sum up the global expansion of this workforce and what it means for the future of work within the IT industry as a whole… Information technologies have slowly grown in importance and have become a robust career path for many to follow. Approximately two decades ago, any career within IT was being recommended to young students, touted as being “the career of the future”. But it wasn’t clear exactly how vast an industry it would actually become, and today, there are myriad possible career paths to take within the IT sector as a whole. Not only this, but the sector is progressively moving towards remote and flexible working which is drawing yet more people into the IT arena. The global distribution of the most successful digital companies, as well as their market dominance, is no real surprise with the United States coming in pole position and China following in second place. Third and lower positions are held by other countries around the world, however their shares of the market are significantly lower. In descending order, Japan, France, Canada, India and Taiwan are all noteworthy contributors and worth mentioning here but are still nowhere close to USA and China. Key areas within the global IT workplace include: Information communications technology (ICT) Information technology (IT) Communication infrastructure Hardware and equipment Educational technology Research computing Information security Information systems And of course, other sectors within the IT industry that do not fall into one of the above categories. The digital economy has a huge impact on the world’s economy since it affects almost every resource available. IT overall is what oversees and governs most other industries too. According to Huawei & Oxford Economics (2017), “the digital economy is worth $11.5 trillion globally, equivalent to 15.5% of the global GDP and has grown two and a half times faster than global GDP over the past 15 years.” This is a truly staggering statistic especially considering the substantial growth the industry has seen in comparison to the global GDP. During 2017, the IT sector’s influence on global GDP even went as far as to exceed the professional and business services industry, as well as finance and insurance and the manufacturing sectors. IT spending is growing rapidly and is set to have an overall positive result on the industry as a whole as well as on economic output. Between 2007 and 2017, the growth within the portion of the IT industry that includes internet publishing, data processing and software contributed the most extensive growth to the industry with a staggering contribution to global GDP at $263.6 billion – an increase of 39% on the ten years prior. The trajectory within the IT industry is enormous, and the growth of the digital economy, fueled by mostly online outputs (i.e. non-physical), means the IT workforce is seeing momentous growth globally. It is difficult to quantify the precise growth due to the current global accounting framework along with a host of other factors, however what is key to note is that not only is it the growth within the IT industry, but the fact that other industries are quickly adopting digital means to carry out tasks where previously these would have been carried out manually. Also thanks to artificial intelligence (AI) and automation taking gigantic leaps forward, the IT industry’s contribution to other industries is slowly changing the face of the global workforce. In fact, the demand for services of an IT nature within non-IT industries has been extreme, and according to global research and advisory firm, Gartner, global IT spending is set to grow by 3.2% during 2019. The growth is however somewhat unequally spread across the principal geographical markets (United States, Canada, Middle East and Africa, Latin America, Europe and Asia-Pacific). As may be expected, United States and Canada (North America) are forecast to contribute more than USD$ 1 trillion towards the global IT spend during 2019, followed by the Middle East and Africa (EMEA). The global IT service output of the four key economies during the decade 2005 to 2015 has seen steady growth with an uptick towards the end of the decade. The Joint Research Centre and European Commission and Communication Networks, Content and Technology found that within the EU, India, USA and China, the latter two had experienced the uptick with the USA’s 2015 IT service output at EUR 1,250 billion and China’s at EUR 500 billion. The EU’s IT service output was closer to the USA’s at just over EUR 1 billion, however the growth was steadier over the decade without large ups and downs. Considering the IT industry has been the inspiration for many a business model change and has contributed impressive value to businesses around the globe, investor IT spend will continue to grow, but the effects of that spending could be diluted due to the downward trajectory in the cost of technology solutions because of AI and automation - and what seems to be their intent on world domination!