Internet firms are leading the way in creating jobs, wealth and innovation with a rapidly increasing demand for mobile services boosting revenue and research.
The world’s top 250 IT firms ranked by revenue increased their workforces by 4% in 2010 and 6% in 2011 – with internet firms hiring at an even faster rate of 29% driven by Amazon and Google.
Both internet giants increased their staffs by 50% over the past two years, says the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) report Internet Economy Outlook 2012.
The US employs the most IT professionals – with nearly a third of the total workforce among OECD countries, followed by Japan (16%) and Germany (9%).
Firms making electronic and communications equipment grabbed the largest share of research money among the top 250 firms in 2011, with almost 50% of the budget worth $74 billion.
Businesses more efficient
Semiconductor companies were next with 16% ($ 26 billion), followed by software and IT equipment firms averaging 13% each ($ 22 billion).
The OECD notes IT –related industries had an easier downturn than manufacturers, which may be due to the more developed nations specialising in IT while manufacturing has moved to lower-cost base nations.
“The strength of the services sector is partially the result of the increasing role IT plays in helping businesses become more efficient,” says the OECD. “Firms may look to IT to cut costs during downturns, creating a continued demand for IT services as other budgets are cut. The same is true for the telecoms sector which continued to perform strongly during the crisis, as households and individuals today consider them essential services and prefer to cut back on other expenses.”
Global IT spending is estimated to reach $4.4 billion in 2012, with 58% ($ 2 572 billion) spent on communications services and equipment, 21% ($ 910 billion) on computer services, 12% ($ 539 billion) on computer hardware and 9% ($ 385 billion) on software.
13% of US GDP internet based
“The structure of IT spending is slowly shifting,” says the report. “Consumer spending is now making up a third of the total IT market. This is mainly driven by increasing demand for mobile devices, like smartphones, netbooks, and tablets.
“IT spending is also growing faster in the natural resources sector, followed by the construction and the energy and utilities sector, possibly owing to the commodities boom and the shift to ‘smart’ infrastructures.”
Based on government figures, the report finds that for 2010 about 13% of American business GDP could be attributed to the Internet.