In a demonstration of optimism that his company has rather lacked of late, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer yesterday told UK business interest group the CBI that he expects the UK’s IT sector to create 78,000 jobs by 2013.
Ballmer was less optimistic on the future of the global economy as a whole, predicting slow growth for many years to come.
Unlike before the credit crunch, however, that modest economic growth will be based on genuine productivity improvements not cheap debt, he said. Naturally, Ballmer believes that IT will be at the heart of the UK’s productivity growth. “These next few years are going to be the best yet,” he said.
His comments were based on research Microsoft has conducted in partnership with market analyst IDC. It found that IT spending in the UK will grow 1.8% per annum until 2013, while the UK economy will shrink by 1% each year.
Ballmer implied that the boost in IT roles will come at the expense of jobs in other sectors. He said that businesses will continue to invest in technology that allows it “to do more with less”.
Earlier this week, in a study conducted in partnership with PricewaterhouseCoopers, the CBI predicted that the UK’s financial services industry will shed 60,000 jobs in the coming year alone. Financial organisations will continue to spend on IT, however, because “they can invest in technology as a way of reducing headcount,” said Andrew Gray, PwC’s UK banking advisory leader.