Study: Nearly 75% of U.S. Workforce Will be Mobile by 2011

According to a new study by Framingham, Mass.-based marketing and analysis firm IDC, the worldwide number of mobile workers will likely increase from 758.6 million in 2006 to more than 1 billion by year-end 2011, representing just more than 30 percent of the planet's workforce and nearly 75 percent of the U.S. workforce. The proliferation of remote access technologies, mobile devices, high-speed networks, and public Wi-Fi hotspots coupled with a high comfort level among users of the technology and pressure on companies to provide work/life balance programs for employees, all are pushing the mobility trend upward, allowing employees to work effectively from almost anywhere, the firm says.

In addition to meeting the demands of today's workforce, enterprises are deploying mobile solutions to meet both horizontal and vertical industry needs driven by increasing business response time as well as to help reduce corporate space (and leasing) requirements. Organizations deploying mobile solutions enjoy a strategic competitive advantage over their competitors who have not invested in integrating mobility into their cultural roadmap, IDC says, noting that some risks are part of the investment.

"Although mobility deployments can bring a number of benefits to companies, they also bring risks associated with sensitive data sitting on small devices that can be easily lost," said Stephen Drake, program director, Mobile Enterprise Services. "Developing a plan around managing and securing devices should be part of any large mobility deployment."

Regional comparisons indicate that the U.S. workforce had the highest percentage of mobile workers at 68 percent in 2006. However, IDC expects Japan's rates will increase the most during the forecast period with mobile workers accounting for nearly 80 percent of the workforce by year-end 2011, up from 53 percent in 2006. The study, Worldwide Mobile Worker 2007-2011 Forecast and Analysis (IDC Doc #209813), provides a worldwide five-year mobile worker population forecast through 2011 and analysis across three major worker categories and 13 subcategories in five regions: the United States, Western Europe, Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan), Japan, and the rest of the world.

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