Internet Could Host Jobs Boom
A study by international business school Vlerick has revealed a potential boost in European jobs and growth from a sector traditionally seen as a freelance stronghold – if the sector fulfils its potential.
The study suggests that Europe has the potential to generate an additional 1.5 million jobs in the EU through the digital economy, an area which already employs 3.4 million people, many of whom are freelancers and contractors.
Key findings in the Vlerick study reveal that given the impact of the internet sector on GDP growth –particularly in the UK, Sweden, Germany, France and Italy where the internet was found to directly contribute between 1.7% and 6.3% of GDP – there is potential for the sector to create between 400,000 and 1.5 million jobs within the European digital economy.
Steve Muylle, Professor at Vlerick Business School, says “Our research reveals that the internet sector has become significant in the EU27 and that it can serve as a powerful catalyst for economic growth. The latter will not only bring employment yet also foster innovation, such as in digital advertising.”
So how many of these ‘jobs’ are actually likely to be project engagements carried out by freelancers? Well the study doesn’t differentiate between permanent roles and projects, but given the way the industry works and recent figures which show freelancing across Europe to be skyrocketing, the likelihood is freelancing will form a major part of the potential market.
With the internet clearly among the more modern industries out there, the news from Vlerick shows that key to economic recovery is increasingly likely to be found in the less traditional areas of business. As freelance organisation PCG’s Senior Policy Adviser on Europe, Andrew Chamberlain explains, it’s an industry that allows freelancers to expand their search for work;
“We know from our research that the number of our members taking contracts from abroad is on the up. Almost half now plan to actively seek work from across Europe in the next year, which is a huge increase on previous years. Working in the digital sector allows people to do that and we firmly believe that freelancers will be integral in the rise of that industry given how well their way of working fits with the sector.”