Mobile WorkerThe number of mobile workers in the U.S. will rise from 96.2 million to 105.4 million over the next five years. By 2020 mobile workers will account for nearly three-quarters (72.3 percent) of the U.S. workforce, according to a new report from IDC.

Falling prices for smartphones and tablets will help fuel the trend, as will growth in company employees making use of personal devices at work – the “Bring Your Own Device,” or BYOD, trend, IDC highlights in a press release.

Innovations in mobile broadband and computing technology will also contribute to growth in the number of mobile workers in the U.S. The introduction and/or greater use of biometric readers, connected wearable devices, voice control technology, near-field communications (NFC) and augmented reality will transform the nature of work in the U.S., IDC says.

Productivity will rise as communication is enhanced and workflows become more streamlined and efficient. Just under 7 in 10 (69.1 percent) of those with a stake in enterprise mobility surveyed by IDC for a recent research report said operating or capital expenditure costs were reduced as a result of implementing BYOD programs.

Mobile Worker Categories
Two categories of mobile workers are incorporated in IDC’s research. The market research provider defines office-based mobile workers as those working primarily in offices, whether at company sites or at home. Non-office mobile workers do their jobs primarily out in the field rather than in an office environment.

Other key takeaways from IDC’s report include:

  • Office-based and non-office-based mobile worker populations will stay in relative balance to one another throughout the forecast, with non-office-based mobile workers representing more than two thirds of the total mobile worker population.
  • Manufacturing, construction, retail and healthcare workers are inherently more mobile and these industries are expected to see faster growth in their mobile worker population than other vertical markets over the forecast period.
  • Healthcare workers represent the largest segment of the mobile workforce, accounting for 18% of the total U.S. mobile worker population when office-based and non-office-based healthcare workers are combined.

“Mobility has become synonymous with productivity both inside and outside the workplace, and the mass adoption of mobile technology in the United States has cultivated an environment where workers expect to leverage mobile technology at work,” Bryan Bassett, IDC research analyst, Mobile Enterprise Device Solutions, was quoted as saying. “This expectation will be supplemented by new solutions specifically intended to manage the challenges associated with the growing needs of the mobile workforce.”