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IDC: Mobile Workers to Reach 1.3 Billion by 2015

January 5, 2012

By 2015, the world’s mobile worker population will reach 1.3 billion, representing 37.2 percent of the total workforce.

According to a forecast from International Data Corp. (IDC), the most significant gains will be in the emerging economies of Asia/Pacific 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.

“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.”

Among the key findings from this forecast are the following:

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. North America has the largest number of mobile workers in this region, with 75% of the workforce mobile in 2010.

Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan) will see the largest increase in 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% 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% because of its declining population base. However, the share of mobile workers will reach a penetration rate of 64.8% of its workforce by 2015, for a total of 38.6 million mobile workers.

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