Just how many techies are out there?
Posted on 24th April 2019
I like to think – no, correction, I know – that Be-IT is pretty good at what we do. Matching quality candidates with quality companies is, when well done, an extremely skilful and important thing to be able to do. However, as my colleagues have written here, seemingly ad nauseam, there is a manifest shortage of said quality candidates. Given the continuing and rapid growth of existing and new tech companies that’s perhaps unsurprising, but the actual size and scale of the IT industry worldwide is something that I’d not really appreciated until I saw a number of recent articles which lay bare just how many software developers there are out there.
Software is, in many ways, the lifeblood of the modern world economy. There are billions of people currently using trillions of devices running software for a huge raft of everyday and specialist uses.
Just how big the sector is demonstrated in a recent Gartner Consulting report showing that spending on IT was $3.8 trillion in 2018 and among all IT products and services, enterprise software grew at an 11.1% rate last year and is expected to grow at an 8.4% rate in 2019. As a whole, IT has grown steadily year on year and will continue to grow at 5% to 7% per annum.
When we come to the numbers working in IT, a study by Evans Data Corp suggests there were 23 million software developers worldwide as of 2018, with this number expected to increase to 27.7 million by 2023. Although the USA is currently home to the most software engineers, India is expected to dominate by 2023.
Even more interestingly, this article, from January this year, suggests that these numbers may be underestimates. The author, Mahesh Chand, makes an educated guess that there are c. 40 million people who code, taking ‘coders’ to be anyone - programmers, developers, front-end developers, back-end developers, full stack developers, etc. – who write code. In addition, he believes, probably correctly, that there are millions of people who don’t work full-time in IT but are involved in coding of some sort or other, as a hobby or in a part-time, gig-economy job.
All of which begs one important question … if there are so many techies out there, why are they so hard to find and hire? The answer is obvious. Most of these people are not in the UK or Europe. And this, in turn, means two things in my opinion. Firstly, that we, as a country, have to work even harder to educate and train more people with the necessary skills, here in our own country; and secondly, that we need to create an immigration policy that works by attracting anyone who has the skills and experience we need here (not just in IT) and encourages more of them to make the move. Of course, we have some issues just now with how the UK interacts with the rest of the world, so perhaps we could extend this new immigration policy to welcome talented politicians too…
Michael Phair, Be-IT
Posted in News, Recruitment News
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