Is Australia ready for the digital economy? This is obviously a subject of great debate, intertwined with decisions about investments in the National Broadband Network and public concerns about data privacy. It is clear that some parts of the Australian digital economy, notably mobile communications, are quite vibrant. Two recent reports from the Australian Communications and Media Authority show the strength of this sector.
- The number of Australians using the Internet via their mobile phone rose 33% from June 2012 to June 2013.
- The number of Australians with a smartphone rose by 29% from May 2012 to May 2013.
- Mobile broadband boosted Australia’s economic activity in 2013 by an estimated $34 billion (AUD).
In this study, we focus on one particular aspect of the mobile boom: The number of Australian jobs created in Australia’s ‘App Economy’. Australia has a large number of app developers—these are the people who design and create the apps distributed by small and large companies, nonprofits, and government agencies. Indeed, it’s astonishing how fast many companies have embraced the App Economy, hiring the workers needed to develop mobile applications at a rapid rate. We are seeing the creation of new specialties and new ways to interact with customers and employees.
But building a successful app is not a one-shot deal. Think of an app like a car—once built, it still needs to be repaired (in the case of bugs or security risks), updated, and maintained. And just as the automobile industry supports a large number of workers, from engineers to factory production workers to sales to service stations, so too does the App Economy support a significant number of workers.
An Australian company that does app development has to hire sales people, marketers, human resource specialists, accountants, and all the myriad of workers that inevitably make up the modern workforce. Finally, each app developer supports a certain number of local jobs. (The full definition of an App Economy job is found later in this study).
In this report we estimate that the Australian App Economy employed roughly 140,000 workers as of June 2014. The top state was New South Wales, with 77,000 App Economy jobs, but every state had some App Economy employment. Moreover, we note that Australia stacks up well against the United States and the United Kingdom when it comes to App Economy employment per capita.
Read the full memo – Jobs in the Australian App Economy