Software’s impact on the EU growing faster than the overall the European economy, new study shows

- The UK software sector created direct value-added GDP of £70.3 billion in 2016 – up 33,5% since 2014 (five times more growth than France and Germany).

- Software supports 2.7 million jobs in the UK (more than any of the other EU countries surveyed).

The software industry is leading the way in growing the EU economy, contributing €1 trillion of total EU value-added GDP in 2016. That’s an increase of almost 10 percent over 2014 and it is faster than overall EU GDP growth of 6.0 percent, according to “The Growing €1 Trillion Impact of Software,” a study from Software.org: the BSA Foundation, conducted by The Economist Intelligence Unit. The study also shows that the software industry supports 12.7 million jobs across the EU.

The software industry is growing dramatically in individual Member States as well. While the UK, France, and Germany remain the largest software markets in the EU, contributing more than 60 percent of total EU direct software industry value-added GDP, countries like Sweden and Poland are growing at a staggering rate. Sweden’s software industry grew by 43.9 percent in the two years studied, while software’s impact in Europe overall grew by 22.4 percent.

“Software helps people across the world start new businesses and create new products that improve lives and boost the economy,” said Victoria Espinel, President of Software.org and President and CEO of BSA | The Software Alliance. “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”.

The study also showed the industry’s benefit as a high-quality job creator. Directly, software companies employed 3.6 million people across Europe in 2016, up from 3.1 million in 2014. Overall, the software sector brought 12.7 million jobs to the European economy in 2016, an increase of 10 percent compared to 2014.

These jobs are highly-skilled and well-paid: according to the EIU research, total direct wages paid by the software industry for all 28 EU member states in 2016 grew to €162.1 billion from €139.2 billion in 2014, an increase of 16.4 percent. Smaller countries in particular felt this boost: total salaries paid by the sector in Sweden grew 31.4 percent over the two years to 2016, and by 30.4 percent over the same period in Poland.

“Europe is embracing the opportunities offered by software, and the industry is creating jobs across every economic sector, from disaster recovery services to data processing and accounting. And every year, the software industry is adding new jobs that have never existed before, like strategic cloud data engineer or big data product specialist,” said Chris Hopfensperger, Executive Director of Software.org.

By itself, the software industry directly added more than €300 billion to the EU economy in 2016, up 22.4 percent compared to 2014. Moving beyond the figures, the study includes a number of striking examples of how software is actually changing the way we live and work: from archaeologists creating 3D models of historic sites threatened by conflict, to engineers renovating historic tunnels with the help of 3D scanning to scientists taking “acoustic photographs” for the blind, to brewers using AI to create and catalogue 1,000 different beer samples a day.

The study, focusing on the European Union and seven EU Member States (France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Sweden and Poland) is available here.read more