Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Microsoft and UK IT jobs

(by Richard Holway 9.00am Tuesday 6th Oct 09) As most readers know I have been involved in the Making BrITain Great Again IT Manifesto. Its aim is to persuade the next Government (of whatever colour) to introduce policies to boost the UK industry. In particular to increase jobs in IT in the UK by 250,000 (it’s currently about 1.5m) in the next 10 years.

So I was, of course, very interested in Steve Ballmer’s prediction yesterday at his Breakfast address to the CBI of 78,000 jobs being created in the UK by 2013 on the back of 2500 new IT companies. “The new companies will be small and locally owned and the jobs will be highly skilled and high quality”. Apparently this was all based on an IDC study, commissioned by Microsoft, which predicted a 1.8% rise in UK IT spend (currently £50b) per year to 2013. I’m unsure if the 1.8% rise is in real terms or includes inflation. But either way it’s probably not too far away from 1xGDP growth in the period which equates to our own forecasts.

The ‘problem’ I have with this is that the press has headlined Ballmer’s ‘rallying cry for UK jobs” with headlines like “IT will rescue Britain”. But, bluntly, the forecasts of both growth and additional jobs are extremely modest and small in the scale of things and certainly don’t justify the hype of the headlines.

Indeed, Ballmer was pretty downbeat – predicting the economy would be down for quite a while.
Finally, Ballmer predicted that devices would get thinner and lighter. Wow, who’d have thought it?

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