Research house IDC published a white paper which states that in 52 countries surveyed, employment in the IT industry and IT functions in other organisation will grow by 3% per year in the period to 2013, creating 5.8 million jobs and outpacing the total growth in employment by more than three times.
The surveyed countries account for 98% of the forecasted $1.41 trillion IT spend in 2009, a figure which is anticipated to grow to $1.7 trillion in 2013. Growth in the IT market will lead to the creation of 75,000 new businesses before the end of the study period, with most of these being "small and locally owned organisations". Currently, more than 13 million people are employed directly by the IT industry, with another 22 million IT professionals working in IT-using businesses.
Unsurprisingly, much of the Microsoft-sponsored paper, titled "Aid to recovery: the economic impact of IT, software, and the Microsoft ecosystem on the global economy", had a software focus. It was noted that while spending on packaged software in the 52 countries will account for 21% of total spending in 2009, some 51% of IT employment will be software-related. This was attributed to the fact that software is "more complex to sell, service and support than hardware", meaning that more downstream economic activity is generated.
Software spend is also growing faster than the IT sector as a whole, increasing by 4.8% and 3.3% respectively. During 2009, despite total IT employment dropping by "a fraction of a percentage point", software-related employment grew by 4%.
The survey noted that the advantages of the growing IT sector are "more extensive than the raw numbers alone suggest". IT jobs tend to be more highly-skilled than most others, particularly in emerging economies, and increased levels of computerisation can enable countries to be more competitive in the global marketplace.
IDC has also prepared regional breakdowns alongside its global analysis. These can be found here.