Software sector contributes €1tn to European GDP and supports 12.7m jobs

New study finds software industry growing at a faster rate than EU average

According to the figures, the UK, France, and Germany remain the largest software markets in the EU, contributing more than 60 per cent of total EU direct software industry value-added GDP. Photograph: Getty Images/iStockphoto

According to the figures, the UK, France, and Germany remain the largest software markets in the EU, contributing more than 60 per cent of total EU direct software industry value-added GDP. Photograph: Getty Images/iStockphoto

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The software sector supports 12.7 million jobs across the European Union and contributes as much as €1 trillion to EU GDP, according to new figures.

The statistics, which were compiled by the Economist Intelligence Unit for the research organisation Software.org, show the economic contribution from the sector rose by 9.9 per cent from 2014 to 2016. This compares to overall EU GDP growth of 6.0 per cent over the same period.

The software industry directly contributed €304 billion to the EU economy in 2016, representing 2 per cent of total value-added GDP – up 22.4 per cent from €249 billion in 2014. In addition, the sector employed 3.6 million people and paid €162.1 billion in wages, up 16.4 per cent versus the €139.2 billion paid to employees and contractors in 2014.

Indirectly, the industry contributed a further €221 billion to EU GDP and supported an additional 2.6 million jobs.

According to the figures, the United Kingdom, France, and Germany remain the largest software markets in the EU, contributing more than 60 per cent of total EU direct software industry value-added GDP.

Exports

However, the software sector in countries like Sweden and Poland are also growing at a phenomenal rate. The Swedish software industry for example saw growth rising by 43.9 per cent between 2014 and 2016.

Ireland, which is the world’s second largest software exporter, is home to over 900 software companies, which combined employ 24,000 people and generate €16 billion of exports annually.

The report reveals the average annual salary for workers in the EU software sector is €45,307.

“This study confirms that software is an integral part of Europe’s economic present and future. Its positive impact on the European economy is big and growing. Software isn’t just code – software is euros and jobs,” said Victoria Espinel, president of Software.org.

It isn’t just the EU that gets a big GDP boost from the software sector. Software.org also reports it contributes $1.14 trillion (€99.1 billion) to the US economy with all 50 states getting a financial boost. Of these, 35 states saw GDP growth of more than 20 per cent in 2016 on the back of rising software sales.

Some 2.9 million people in the US are directly employed in software, but the industry indirectly supports more than 10 million jobs.

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