appsUnemployment. Is there an app for that? The unemployment rate in the Eurozone is currently hovering at around 10%. The overall rate of unemploylent across the EU-28 is lower (8.5% in September 2016), but that number hides the fact that unemployment is distributed unevenly across the continent (and across the age gap, with youth unemployment over 12%).

Could the new digital economy be part of the solution? Particularly (but not just) the mobile app economy? The app economy includes all economic activity surrounding mobile applications, including the sale of apps, ad revenue, public relations, and the devices on which apps run. This could include technical roles such as app developers, designers and programmers. But it can also include the sort of non-technical jobs needed to run a tech startup, such as marketing, management, and human resources.

In January 2016, the European app economy included 1.64 million jobs. That represents roughly 0.7% of all jobs in Europe – which is significant, but it means there is still room for growth. In the US, for example, app economy jobs make up 1.2% of all jobs.

Want to learn more about the app economy in Europe? Check out our infographic below (click for a bigger version):
google_app_unemployment_2

We had a comment from Larry, who pointed out that “not long ago there was no demand for gadgets, apps, games etc. – now there is an entire industry out there hiring millions.”

The app economy is catering for a market that didn’t exist 20 years ago, creating entirely new types of job, requiring new skillsets and technologies. So, could this be a source of growth for the general economy? Will the rise of the app economy help cut overall unemployment in Europe?

To get a response, we spoke to Lenard Koschwitz, Director of Public Affairs at Allied for Startups, a worldwide network of startup associations. What would he say to Larry?

We also had a comment from Chalks, who wondered what kind of jobs there will be in the new app economy. Is it all about young go-getters? Or will there also be jobs for older workers, who are less comfortable with new technology? What would Lenard Koschwitz say?

Will the growth of the app economy help cut unemployment in Europe? What kind of jobs will the app economy create? On Monday 14th November, Debating Europe is co-hosting an event in Brussels with Google on mobile innovation, and we’ll be taking your questions to participants about the app economy. So, let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below, and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!

IMAGE CREDITS: CC / Flickr – CAFNR



35 comments Post a commentComment

What do YOU think?

  1. Tarquin Farquhar

    Yes, probably; at least for a few years. But what happens re jobs when ‘apps can create themselves’?

    • Friedger

      Yes! People are working on it reducing the cost of development…

    • Ash

      Apps creating themselves is a nice idea, and one that frankly is quite welcome, but we only make small steps at a time towards this, which only serves to make developers much more productive and quicker, meaning that we focus more on the more interesting and innovative areas of development. Apps creating themselves won’t really happen, it will always require the driving force behind it, meaning people with knowledge and experience behind what goes into making it in the first place.

  2. Paul X

    The problems is for every “app” that is remotely useful there are hundreds that are total cr@p

    This is symptomatic of the whole world of IT. A whole career is created from creating “solutions” to problems that do not exist by people who are trying to justify their own existence

    One day the whole reliance on IT as a “career” will collapse when they realise there is nothing left on the planet that needs an “app”, but by then it will be too late and people who have spent a lifetime tapping a touch screen will suddenly find out they are incapable of doing anything physically constructive with their hands

  3. kevin

    Short term maybe but we really should focus on giving people skills that would benefit them for life . Trade apprenticeships and professional qualifications would do a lot more to solve unemployment than an app.

    • Ash

      Absolutely! I really feel that giving young people access to training programmes and sparking curiosity at a young age can give people great strength in the career. Particularly in digital technology, but the same can be applicable for any field of trade or engineering.

  4. Andrej Němec

    Of course they can. The sharing economy creates new markets and new jobs and smartphone applications are an enabler of the sharing economy. Applications like Task Rabbit (on demand jobs between private parties) should be introduced and encouraged in Europe. Any person willing to take on board a task having the required skills should be empowered to do so. Helping the demand meet the supply is what ultimately creates employment.

    • Friedger

      And destroying more jobs.. An app can destroy more jobs than the app economy can ever create.

  5. Gverreiro do Minho

    No. Unemployment hit mostly the uneducated, young and old. They just don’t get the media time that young college graduates get.

  6. ironworker

    “Can apps like BlaBlaCar and Deliveroo help cut EU unemployment?”

    You are kidding… are you ?

  7. Belamie Versco

    change the system of money distribution and nobody will worry about unemployment. eg basic income. the planet’s nature has been destroyed enough from all the productivity madness.

  8. Duncan

    Surely you’ve answered your own question? If unemployment is 8.5% and a strong app economy is 1.2%, minus the 0.7% already in that field in the EU, you could assume an increase of around 0.5%. That still leaves 8% unemployed, that’s not assuming these apps don’t threaten traditional jobs anyway. Such as high street retailers and map publishers as two examples of app types that are in direct competition with other employers. So no, basically. . . .

    • Ander Anderson

      Vlad Craioveanu What a load of BS contraception has never done it before

    • Friedger

      Yeah, paid by the profit generated through digitalisation.

  9. Wolfgang Mizelli

    there is allready enough work to do, find a way to fund it. example: personal assistance for disabled and elderly people, peer support, lobbying for disability rights, most of the voluntary work is allready a full time job, a lot to do also in inclusion a lot of professional work done unpaid!find a way to fund it properly!

    • Marcel

      New technology = abolish old technology = job losses from disappearance of old technology = bad news. You see, it’s more or less a zero sum game.

      By the way, your country would be better off without the Euro.

  10. EU reform- proactive

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