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04 July 2017

Mobile apps create new employment sector for 113,000 Australians

Last year, history of sorts was made in the tech world. In January of 2014, CNN Money reported that for the first time Americans accessed the Internet more through mobile apps than through PCs. While the statistic may not have registered with mainstream news consumers, it was a meaningful milestone for tech denizens, indicating that Americans’ computing habits had shifted en masse yet again, this time from laptop to mobile.

The Australian App Economy now employs 113,000 people. Picture: Supplied

MORE than 100,000 Australians are employed in the mobile applications sector, many working in roles that a decade ago hadn’t even been dreamt up.

A new report by the Progressive Policy Institute estimates there are 113,000 Australian workers in the sector — up 11 per cent since 2014.

It places Australia’s app intensity — the number of app jobs as a percentage of total jobs — at 0.9 per cent, which is stronger than Europe (0.8 per cent) but behind the US (1.1 per cent).

PPI chief economic strategist and report author Michael Mandel says a surprisingly broad range of enterprises are searching for workers with the ability to design, develop, maintain or support mobile applications.

“Remember that any app is exportable, in the sense that it can be downloaded from an app store by anybody around the world, no matter how far the distance,” he says.

“That means the Australian App Economy can become a basis for continued growth. In addition, apps can improve the efficiency and attractiveness of the Australian economy.”

Apple opened the App Store in 2008 and Android followed with Android Market, now known as Google Play.

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Australia’s mobile app-related workforce has grown 11 per cent since 2014. Picture: Supplied

Australia’s mobile app-related workforce has grown 11 per cent since 2014. Picture: SuppliedSource:Supplied

Since then, the sector has employed both IT-related workers such as those developing the applications as well as non-IT workers such as in sales, marketing and finance.

New South Wales dominates the sector with 56,100 workers despite the Australian Capital Territory having the highest app intensity at 2.4 per cent.

NSW is followed by Victoria with 29,000 workers, Queensland with 14,500, the ACT with 5200, Western Australia with 4400, South Australia with 1600, Tasmania with 1300, and the Northern Territory with 400.

Workers are employed by large and small app developers, software and media companies, financial and retail companies, Australian and overseas tech companies, nonprofits and

government agencies, large corporations that develop and maintain apps, and accounting and

IT consulting firms.

More roles are dedicated to Apple’s iOS apps (86 per cent of workers) than Android apps (77 per cent), although most work with both.

READ MORE EMPLOYMENT NEWS IN THE CAREERS SECTION OF SATURDAY’S THE COURIER-MAIL, THE ADVERTISER, THE HERALD SUN AND THE DAILY TELEGRAPH.

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