[This post first appeared on the Getting Results From Crowds book website]
Research firm IDC has forecast that there will be 1.3 billion ‘mobile workers’ in the world by 2015, representing 37.2% of the global workforce. This points to the massive explosion of what I call the ‘global talent economy’, in which talent can be and will be anywhere.
The forecasts suggest that the bulk of the growth will be in Asia-Pacific (excluding Japan), which will see 838 million mobile workers in 2015, up 237 million from 2010, representing well over half the global mobile workforce.
Europe, Middle East, and Africa is expected to have 244 million mobile workers, up 58 million. The figures in Americas will increase only slightly, while they will decrease marginally in Japan.
I haven’t been able to find a definition of what IDC means by ‘mobile worker’, but we can assume that it covers anyone who works remotely using internet, smartphones, and laptops, in home offices, while travelling, or in internet cafes. It seems much of that shift to mobile work has already happened in developed countries, however now we are seeing literally hundreds of millions people join the world of connected work, instantly giving them access to employers around the world.
IDC’s forecasts suggest that over 37% of the global workforce will be at least partially mobile by 2015. It is safe to envisage that by around 2020 half the global talent pool will be available to companies located anywhere in the world.
This transformation of global work, and in turn how organizations work, is a key reason why we wrote Getting Results From Crowds. Organizations have to develop the skills and capabilities that will allow them to thrive in a business world dominated by distributed work.