The mobile industry’s multiplier effect on the global economy

New developments and curiosities from a changing global media landscape: People, Spaces, Deliberation brings trends and events to your attention that illustrate that tomorrow’s media environment will look very different from today’s, and will have little resemblance to yesterday’s.

The global mobile technology industry continues to grow and is now a major source of employment generation.  When mobile operators purchase inputs and services from their providers in the supply chain, they generate sales and value added in other sectors and industries, creating a multiplier effect on the rest of the economy.  Accordingly, employment in the mobile technology industry can be directly tied to the product, like engineers, managers, and sales staff that work for mobile operators and manufactures, but it can also be indirectly tied to the product, like application development, content provision, and call centers that serve not only mobile operators and manufacturers but also third-party content and device producers. In some developing countries, outsourcing of mobile content development creates significant numbers of indirect employment opportunities.

In 2014, it was estimated that the mobile technology industry directly employed approximately 12.8 million people globally and 11.8 million people indirectly, bringing the total impact to just under 25 million jobs.

Global mobile ecosystem employment impact

The total number of jobs— both directly and indirectly generated by the industry— is also expected to grow from now until 2020.  Mobile technologies will continue to be catalysts for the global economy, spurring economic growth and innovation.  This rings especially true when one considers the multiplier effect of connected world apps from ‘The Internet of Things’ and wearables. Moreover, the industry and the consumer demands placed on it are constantly evolving and expanding and will undoubtedly inspire entirely new industries in the years to come.

Employment projections to 2020

This article was first published by the World Bank’s People, Spaces, Deliberation blog. Publication does not imply endorsement of views by the World Economic Forum.

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Author: Roxanne Bauer is a consultant to the World Bank’s External and Corporate Relations, Operational Communications department (ECROC).

Image: Men are silhouetted against a video screen as they pose with Samsung Galaxy S3, Nokia Lumia 820 and iPhone 4 smartphones (R-L) in this photo illustration taken in the central Bosnian town of Zenica, May 17, 2013. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic.

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