How Many Jobs Will Cloud Computing Create?: IDC's Math

Why is Microsoft investing so much in cloud computing? Here's one potential answer: Cloud computing will create 14 million jobs by 2015, according to a report from International Data Corp. Moreover, the study -- commissioned by Microsoft -- predicted that cloud innovation will reach $1.1 trillion that same year.

Yes, Talkin' Cloud believes in the power and promise of cloud computing. But we also need to point out that the cloud is disruptive; the cloud will destroy some jobs and torpedo some industries -- though IDC Chief Research Officer John F. Gantz somewhat disputed that notion.

“For most organizations, cloud computing should be a no-brainer, given its ability to increase IT innovation and flexibility, lower capital costs, and help generate revenues that are multiples of spending,” said Gantz. “A common misperception is cloud computing is a job eliminator, but in truth it will be a job creator — a major one. And job growth will occur across continents and throughout organizations of all sizes because emerging markets, small cities and small businesses have the same access to cloud benefits as large enterprises or developed nations.”

Cloud Computing Across the Globe

Most importantly, where will these new jobs be created, and which industries will they augment? According to the study, new jobs will occur in emerging markets. China and India are among these emerging markets and are expected to produce nearly 6.8 million cloud-enabled jobs between 2011 and 2015, due to the size of their workforces.

Surprisingly, the number of new jobs produced by cloud computing will be somewhat proportional to the size of each industry, the report claims. The top three industries expected to generate the most jobs from cloud computing are:

  • communications and media (2.4 million);

  • banking (1.4 million); and

  • discrete manufacturing (1.3million).

According to the study, 1.2 million jobs will be created in the U.S. and Canada, which may be due to the fact that the U.S. accounted for 62 percent of worldwide funding in cloud services in 2011.

“Enterprises that embrace cloud computing reduce the amount of IT time and budget devoted to legacy systems and routine upgrades, which then increases the time and budget they have for more innovative projects,” Gantz said. “When IT innovation happens, business innovation is reached, which then supports job creation.”

Like we said, it's important to keep such claims in perspectives. Innovation both creates and destroys jobs. The prime example: Look at what Craigslist and online media has done to the news industry.

Still, we'll take the good with the bad. And overall, cloud computing has delivered quite a lot of good.

Additional insights from Joe Panettieri.
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