ICT is at the core of the digital economy. What comprises an ICT sector according to international classifications is ICT manufacturing, ICT wholesale trade, and ICT services. In most low-income developing countries, telecommunications dominate the ICT sector.
According to a documented report by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, telecommunication is indispensable unlike ICT equipment, computer, and information services as it can imports ICT equipment and computer services to satisfy domestic demand.
While looking at important value addition in the digital economy by the ICT sector through employment, UNCTAD looked at employment in the ICT sector itself, which corresponds to the core and narrow scope of the digital economy and employment in ICT occupations in the economy, which is linked to the broad, digitalized economy.
Drawing Reference from statistical data from Eurostat, ILO, OECD, the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre Study titled Prospective Insights in ICT R&D (PREDICT), Global employment in the ICT sector grew by
16 percent resulting in its share in total employment rising from 1.8 percent to 2 percent.
In the ICT sector, computer services tend to have a higher employment rate than the other subsectors but with exceptions in which economies in which ICT manufacturing dominates the ICT sector. However, many employees in ICT manufacturing are also involved in computer services.
For example, while China has a very low proportion of employment in the computer services industry, Huawei, the country’s largest ICT the manufacturer employs 80,000 people equated to 45 percent of its total workforce who are involved in research and development, including software development. It reported that more than 50 percent of ICT sector employees worked in computer services.
Employment in computer services grew particularly fast during the same period, by 27 percent, and accounted for the largest share with 38 percent of ICT sector employment, compared with 31 percent each for telecommunications and ICT manufacturing. Computer services had the largest share of ICT sector employment in most of the developing economies.