US Mobile Workforce To Remain Static


The composition of the U.S. mobile workforce is expected to remain basically unchanged during the next three years, according to a new study issued by InfoTech’s InfoTrack for Enterprise Mobility (IEM) in its Mobile Communications in the U.S. Workplace. In its most recent “Mobility Market Monitor” analysis, survey respondents predicted little change in the proportion of U.S. companies employing various mobile-worker types and no significant expansion in the representation of these various types within the participating companies.

“We asked our survey respondents about five specific types of ‘Traveling Workers’ and six different types of ‘On-Campus Mobile Workers’ – and their feedback was very consistent,” stated Jeanine Sterling, senior program director of InfoTech’s enterprise mobility practice. “Except in the case of mobile ‘Administrative Staff,’ there is little or no near-term change expected in the kind of mobile workers they are going to be employing. And there is no significant increase or decrease expected in the proportion of their mobile headcount that falls into each mobile-worker category.”

She continued, “For example, roughly 80% of our respondents say that they currently employ ‘Mobile Executives.’ That percentage doesn’t change when we then ask about end-of-year 2008. But that only defines the breadth of that worker segment’s presence. We also wanted to understand the depth of presence, so if a respondent currently employs Mobile Executives, just how many tend to be employed? We found out that this particular worker segment typically makes up about one-third of the company’s mobile headcount. And that’s not expected to change during the next three years, either.”

The only exception to this static state is the increasing “mobilization” of the Administrative Staff segment. The percentage of companies employing mobile administrative personnel jumps from 36% to 46% between now and late 2008.

“Clearly, companies see an opportunity to increasingly unfetter their administrative staff from their desks over the coming few years,” Sterling said. “This increase may be related to another of our research findings – a sharp anticipated expansion in the use of voice communications over the corporate wireless LAN.”

For vendors, these findings suggest that discussions with customers should focus not on defining and identifying mobile worker groups within the company – “Customers have already thought this through” — but instead on how to equip these workers with the optimal mobile device-and-application set.

“The composition of the U.S. mobile workforce may remain basically unchanged during the next few years, but the mobile tools they use are expected to change dramatically,” Sterling concluded. “The real action is going to revolve around their swift adoption of new handheld devices and mobile applications.”