The App Economy in Canada

By and / 4.8.2019

La version française est ci-dessous.

The global App Economy started in 2007, when Apple introduced the first iPhone. Apple’s opening of the App Store in 2008 – followed by Android Market (later renamed Google Play), Blackberry App World (later renamed Blackberry World) and other app stores – created a way for developers to write mobile applications (“apps”) that could run on smartphones anywhere. These apps became an essential part of daily life for most people – and an indispensable tool for business.

The rise of the App Economy has unleashed an abundance of “app developers.” These workers create, maintain, and support an ever-expanding range of apps. Mobile games are the most visible part of the App Economy, but certainly not the only component of it. Mobile apps include such key uses as shopping applications, home banking programs, smart automobile interfaces, healthcare apps for monitoring patients, and sophisticated apps for running manufacturing plants.

The extent of the App Economy workforce in a country reflects how quickly that country is embracing the next stage of the Information Revolution, which depends on mobile technology to digitize physical industries such as manufacturing and healthcare. However, official economics statistics do not provide an easy way to measure the size of the App Economy. In response, PPI developed a methodology based on a systematic analysis of online job postings. In particular, we look for job postings that call for app-related skills such as knowledge of the iOS, Android, or Blackberry operating systems (though support for the Blackberry operating system is currently scheduled to cease at the end of 2019). Based on this methodology, in this paper we provide an employment analysis of Canada’s App Economy. We provide an estimate of the total number of App Economy jobs; a breakdown of the jobs among iOS, Android, and Blackberry ecosystems; and an estimate of App Economy jobs by province. In particular, we estimate that Canada has 262,000 App Economy workers as of November 2018.

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