Mobile Worker Report Announcement

by Nick Elia | 08/11/2017

VDC’S Enterprise Mobility & Connected Devices practice is announcing the release of our report on the mobile worker population. According to our research the mobile worker population has exceeded 1.76 billion as of 2016, and accounts for approximately 59.4% of the total global employment. VDC classifies mobile workers as someone who spends the majority of their day performing tasks and responsibilities in some type of mobile capacity. These include specialized line of business workers such as sales reps, field workers / technicians, delivery drivers, registered nurses, and even telecommuters as well. These types of workers don’t necessarily have to leverage some type of mobile device for their job functions but both rugged and consumer grade devices have become increasingly popular as a way for these workers to streamline responsibilities and improve their workflows and productivity.

Besides the overall mobile worker population, VDC also identified several other high level findings of our research that can be seen below…

  • Globally, the 5 industries with the largest mobile worker population was Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing, & Hunting, Wholesale / Retail trade, Manufacturing, Construction, and Mining, Quarrying, Oil & Gas.
  • The APAC region contained the most amount of mobile workers at 1.02 billion, accounting for 58% of the total mobile worker population.
  • North America contained the least amount of mobile workers at 83 million, accounting for only 5% of the total mobile worker population.
  • In the US, the 5 industries with the largest mobile worker population was Healthcare & Social Assistance, Professional & Business services, Leisure & Hospitality, Manufacturing, and Retail trade.
  • Although there are more mobile devices in circulation than the global mobile population, the installed base of devices supporting line of business mobile applications represents 23.5 % of the total global mobile worker population excluding micro enterprises. A majority of mobile workers, especially in emerging markets, work in small mom and pop operations that are classified as micro enterprises and these workers are not realistic end users of mobile devices.
  • VDC estimates the installed base of rugged devices to be around 26 million, representing about 18 % of devices supporting line of business mobile applications.
  • VDC estimates the installed base of non-rugged devices, including smartphones and tablets, to be 119 million, representing about 82% of devices supporting line of business mobile applications.

Moving forward VDC expects a significant more amount of enterprises to adopt “mobile workforces” and revisit their mobility strategy as new tools and technologies are being made available across a wide range of industries. Although mobile devices have become quite pervasive over the past couple of years, meaningful adoption of these devices and mobile solutions in the enterprise is still limited and focused around specific line of business use cases.  Mobile solutions supporting line of business applications represents an installed base of 140 million units or 8.3% of the mobile workforce, meaning there remains significant opportunity to further digitalize and transform business operations through mobility. Our research confirms that the benefits of these investments included productivity gains due to less distractions in the workplace, cost savings through reductions in facility maintenance, and incremental opportunities for the company to expand its talent / candidate pool through remote work locations. These benefits were cited as the greatest areas of improvement and ROI among enterprises / end users we surveyed.

Mobile Worker


View the 2017 Enterprise Mobility & Connected Devices Research Outline to learn more.


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