Software developers creating mobile applications generated $1.7 billion in revenue last year according to a new study of the size of the app industry here.
The Information and Communications Council report, released Monday, found that the number of people employed in the development of business, games and entertainment mobile apps has grown by nearly 25 per cent since its released a first report in October 2012.
An estimated 64,000 people work developing and distributing applications here, the council found — 45,800 are employed by companies that specialize in app development, while another 12,800 are “induced,” meaning their jobs were indirectly created by the apps labour market. Most of them — 28,700, including technical and non-technical people (sales, marketing, management) — work in Ontario, followed by Quebec with 14,000 apps jobs.
The report predicts that nearly 50,000 new jobs are expected to be created between now and 2019 as a result of the creation of new apps and wider enterprise and consumer adoption.
Still, it points out the sector has a number of challenges: international competition, shortage of skilled app developers, lack of awareness of the development companies’ service offerings and shortage of capital.
“Mobile apps are a fast-growing, vibrant sector of the economy,” said Namir Anani, CEO of ICTC. “We consider that talent is one of the most important considerations in ensuring Canada takes full advantage of this opportunities offered by mobile technologies and mobile apps. We continue to work towards ensuring a sufficient supply of this talent by encouraging youth, Aboriginals and women to pursue technology careers, and by providing opportunities for training and up-skilling to all Canadians in all sectors of our economy.”
In particular the report says those in high demand will be apps designers; apps developers; apps testers; programmers (C#); technical artists; software engineers;
The ICTC is funded by the information and communications sector to research technology and labour market trends including immigration initiatives, women in IT, industry forecasts and identifying emerging technologies.
The mobile apps report was paid for in part by the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association (CWTA), which represents some of the country’s biggest cellular carriers. The report was complied from 100 replies from three surveys sent to mobile app development companies between June and December 2013.
The study figures there are nearly 18 million app users in Canada among the 28 million cell phone subscribers, and 2 billion app users worldwide.
Over half of developers — including those who work within organizations as well as software development firms — say they are focusing on developing apps that provide business solutions.
Still, the report says the industry is having trouble filling technical positions, a situation that will get worse before it gets better. Eight out of 10 apps enterprises have some concerns with respect to finding the right blend of skills in adequate quantity. Three out of five apps employers are more than slightly concerned, while nearly a quarter are extremely concerned about skills shortage and mismatch