The Americas region will see the number of mobile workers grow from 182.5 million in 2010 to 212.1 million in 2015.
By 2015, the world's mobile
worker population will reach 1.3 billion, representing 37.2 percent of the
total workforce, according to an updated forecast from IT analytics firm IDC.
The report projects the most significant gains will again be in the emerging
economies of the Asia-Pacific region, thanks to continued, strong economic
growth. The Americas will experience a slower growth rate due to a protracted
economic recovery and high rates of unemployment, IDC analysts concluded.
The Americas region, which
includes the United States, Canada, and Latin America, will see the number of
mobile workers grow from 182.5 million in 2010 to 212.1 million in 2015.
According to IDC findings, North America has the largest number of mobile
workers in this region, with 75 percent of the workforce mobile in 2010.
However, the Asia-Pacific region (excluding Japan) will see the largest
increase in the total number of mobile workers, with 601.7 million mobile
workers in 2010 and 838.7 million in 2015. Much of this is due to the sheer
size of the population in China and India, combined with strong economic
expansion in both countries.
In Europe, the Middle East
and Africa (EMEA), the mobile workforce will see a healthy compound annual
growth rate (CAGR) of 5.6 percent, as it expands from 186.2 million in 2010 to
244.6 million mobile workers in 2015. Japan will see a declining CAGR of 0.2
percent because of its declining population base. However, the share of mobile
workers will reach a penetration rate of 64.8 percent of its workforce by 2015,
for a total of 38.6 million mobile workers.
"Despite recent market
turmoil, mobility continues to be a critical part of the global workforce, and
we expect to see healthy growth in the number of mobile workers," said
Stacy Crook, senior research analyst for IDC's mobile enterprise research
program. "Our forecast shows that the worldwide mobile worker population
will increase from just over 1 billion in 2010 to more than 1.3 billion by 2015."
The IDC study, "Worldwide
Mobile Worker Population 2011-2015 Forecast," provides a worldwide
five-year mobile worker population forecast through 2015 and analysis across
three major worker categories and 13 subcategories in four regions and two
countries: The Americas, United States, Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan), Japan
Despite a stagnant
employment market in 2011, online hiring has grown at a record pace, up more
than 100 percent from 2010. Elance, a platform for online workers and
employers, recently released its "2011 Online Employment Review,"
which reveals that the future of work will be contingent, global and online. As
more companies seek instant access to talent and greater flexibility to run
their businesses, individuals are taking control of their future by building
careers as independent professionals, the report concluded.
The report also found more
people are pursuing independent careers and using online platforms to reinvent
their careers. The 2011 Elance survey of online freelance professionals
indicated that nearly one in three workers began freelancing to be one's own
boss and to work on the type of projects they love. The top benefits of online
work cited include the ability to control one's own schedule (90 percent),
follow their passion (87 percent) and eliminate commuting (85 percent).
Nathan Eddy is Associate Editor, Midmarket, at eWEEK.com. Before joining eWEEK.com, Nate was a writer with ChannelWeb and he served as an editor at FierceMarkets. He is a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.