App intensity has created “millions of new jobs. Picture: iStock
App intensity has created “millions of new jobs. Picture: iStock

Aussies lead the global charge in new tech economy

Innovative Aussies are being rewarded as the nation's app economy continues to outperform some of our biggest international competitors amid the global economic uncertainty caused by COVID-19.

Despite major job losses and the first economic recession in 30 years, quick-thinking Australian developers are reaping financial rewards of people around the world turning to their smartphones in a bid to live more efficiently and pass lockdown boredom.

According to new data released by the Progressive Policy Institute on Thursday, jobs within the Australian app market sector have increased by 15 per cent in just three years, climbing to 156,000 as of January 2021, up from 113,000 jobs in 2017.

And while the United States and Canada currently lead the charge for app-focused jobs within the markets, the data also reveals Australia is outperforming both the United Kingdom and Germany when it comes to "app intensity" (the number of app economy jobs as a share of total national jobs), at 1.2 per cent.

The app industry is booming even in these times of economic uncertainty. Picture: iStock
The app industry is booming even in these times of economic uncertainty. Picture: iStock

Unlike many other industries, app intensity actually increased during the pandemic, "which is not a surprise because the app economy grew while the rest of the economy shrank," PPI's report notes.

At a state and territory level, NSW boasts the most app economy jobs, with 71,000 residents working in the field. Victoria comes in second, but with a far smaller slice of the pie with 41,000 jobs. In Queensland, 21,000 residents work in the app economy, as do 13,000 West Australians and 5,000 people living in South Australia. The ACT follows closely behind with 4,000 app economy jobs, while Tasmania and the Northern Territory trail behind with just 1,000 jobs each respectively.

With over 3.8 billion smartphones now in use around the world the app economy is booming. Among the most downloaded Australian apps over the past year are health and fitness apps Keep it Cleaner, SWEAT: Kayla Itsines Fitness, and Bloom: Better You. State government service apps offering up-to-date information during uncertain times have also been popular, as have child-friendly apps from The Wiggles and Sesame Street.

To meet demand, RMIT launched an online course designed by Apple engineers in 2017 that aims to teach aspiring app economy workers coding, industry expectations and other programming essentials. To date, the course has received close to 2,000 enrolments.

The Australian-designed Wiggles app has been hugely popular over the past year. Picture: supplied
The Australian-designed Wiggles app has been hugely popular over the past year. Picture: supplied

During an end of year speech in 2020, Apple CEO Tim Cook described the company's app store as "an engine of economic growth like no other", adding that the emerging app economy has created "millions of new jobs and a pathway to entrepreneurship accessible to anyone with a great idea." It's something thousands of Australians would surely agree with.

AT A GLANCE:

NSW - 71,000 jobs / 1.7 per cent of total state employment

VIC - 41,000 jobs / 1.2 per cent of total state employment

QLD - 21,000 jobs / 0.8 per cent of total state employment

WA - 13,000 jobs / 1.0 per cent of total state employment

SA - 5,000 jobs / 0.6 per cent of total state employment

ACT - 4,000 jobs /1.9 per cent of total territory employment

TAS - 1,000 jobs / 0.3 per cent of total state employment

NT - 1,000 jobs / 0.5 per cent of total territory employment

Originally published as Aussies lead the global charge in new tech economy


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