Online Jobs Boost Europe’s Competitiveness

A new study published by Vlerick Business School carried out on behalf of IAB Europe reveals that Europe’s digital economy has the potential to generate an additional 1.5 million jobs.

Based on 2010 figures for employment income, the study estimated the economic value of the internet sector in the EU to be €119.8 billion, or about 1 per cent of GDP. The internet sector employs 3.4 million people, approximately 1.6 per cent of the EU’s total working population. 

A key finding of the Vlerick study is that the internet sector’s contribution to GDP growth is particularly high in the UK, Sweden, Germany, France and Italy where it accounts for between 1.7 per cent and 6.3 per cent of GDP.

In the EU, the highest employment and economic value can be found in the internet service providers (ISP) sector which is concentrated in the United Kingdom, Germany, and France. The European Union’s digital advertising industry directly employs almost 80,000 people, or about 5.9 per cent of total internet sector employment.

The European Commission’s Digital Agenda for Europe aims at achieving high-levels of employment, a low carbon economy, and enhanced productivity and social cohesion. Its objectives are to deliver sustainable economic and social benefits from a digital single market based on fast and ultrafast broadband and making internet services more widely available and more affordable. 

The European Union has a great opportunity to harness the tremendous employment potential of the digital advertising sector by accelerating the creation of new jobs and fostering economic growth.

If the success of the internet sector in the USA or the best performing EU countries were to be replicated across the entire EU, this would boost Europe’s transition to a data-driven economy.

The Vlerick study concluded that employment in the European Union’s internet sector has not yet reached its full potential. A likely explanation for this is the significant importation of digital goods and services from the USA. The study shows an unexploited potential of 400,000 to 1.5 million new jobs in the digital economy.

Source: ‘Online Jobs Boosting Europe’s Competitiveness' commissioned by IAB Europe. Research conducted by Steve Muylle, professor of marketing and digital strategy, and co-author and researcher Elke Vijverman at Vlerick Business School. 

About IAB Europe

IAB Europe is the voice of digital business. Its mission is to protect, prove, promote and professionalise Europe's online advertising, media, market research and analytics industries. Together with its members – companies and national trade associations – IAB Europe represents over 5,500 organisations.


The member countries are: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine and United Kingdom.


The corporate members include AB Inbev, Adconion Media Group, Adition, Adobe, ADTECH, AOL Advertising Europe, AudienceScience, BBC Advertising, CNN, CoAdvertise, comScore Europe, CPX Interactive, Creafi Online Media, Criteo, Deutsche Post, eBay International Advertising, Emediate, Evidon, Expedia Inc, Fox Interactive Media, Gemius, Goldbach Group, Google, GroupM, Hi-Media, Koan, Mediamind, Microsoft Europe, Millward Brown, News Corporation,, Nielsen Online, OMD, Orange Advertising Network, PHD, Prisa, Proxistore, Publicitas Europe, Pubmatic, Quisma, Sanoma Digital, Selligent, Tradedoubler, Triton Digital, Truste, United Internet Media, ValueClick, Verisign, Viacom International Media Networks, Webtrekk, White & Case, Yahoo!, Yandex and Zanox.


The associate members include Advance International Media, Aegis Media, Banner, Clarins, Desigual, ePrivacyConsult, Mediabrands, Meetrics, NextPerformance, Rocket Fuel, Rubicon, Tribal Fusion and Turn Europe.

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