Whether the MP3 or the first fully automated computer by Conrad Zuse – innovative talent has a long tradition in Germany’s ITC sector. And it continues to shape the sector even today. In fact, the German ITC sector is considered one of the most innovative in the world. The revenues speak for themselves. With recent figures showing revenues of €228 billion for the year 2013, the German ITC market is the world’s fourth-largest.
IT and telecommunications
Around 12 percent of the current international patent applications in the field of ITC have been filed by German companies. The US and Japan are the only countries that have filed more applications. Innovations in the ITC sector represented some 13 percent of Germany’s total innovation expenditures in 2010. Measured in terms of revenues, the sector spends two and a half times the amount on innovation projects as the average expenditures of the German economy, according to a study by the Centre for European Economic Research (ZEW) and the industry organisation BITKOM (pdf). Germany also hosts the world’s largest IT trade fair, CeBIT, each year. This venue brings together more than 4,000 exhibitors representing some 70 countries.
Since the innovations from other industries are also based to a great extent on information and communications technologies, the ITC sector also drives growth and inventions in other industries. Around 40 percent of the companies in Germany introduced innovations in 2010 which would not have been possible without information and communications technologies.
What effect innovations in the ICT industry are having on society is illustrated by the increasing digitisation in virtually all aspects of everyday life. This digital evolution is having a major impact on industry, work processes, education and research, communications and network security. Expanding the digital infrastructure is one key goal of Germany’s federal government. The 2014-2017 Digital Agenda sets out key fields of action for achieving the transition to a digital world in Germany. Among other things, the agenda focuses on the expansion of the digital infrastructure, networked production, and digital integration in society, education and science, as well as in security and data protection.
Good prospects for IT professionals
This faster pace of change and innovation also calls for adequately qualified professionals. Some 915,000 people employed in the sector work in the areas of information technology (IT), telecommunications, and consumer electronics. With revenues exceeding €74.7 billion, information technology held the largest share on the German ITC market in 2013, followed by telecommunications with €66.1 billion and consumer electronics with €12.5 billion.
Providers of information technology, telecommunications and Internet services are the second-largest employer in the German industry – behind the mechanical engineering industry, but ahead of the automotive and electrical industries. In a recent survey conducted by the industry organisation BITKOM, 64 percent of the companies indicated their intention to create additional jobs. However, they do not always find the qualified workers they need in Germany. Thus, the number of job vacancies for IT specialists has recently shown a marked increase.
Technology in international demand
Chances of being able to work in a leading international company are favourable. Many businesses are a step ahead of the competition in terms of their technology. As a result, products and services from Germany’s information and communications technology sector are in particular demand outside of Germany. Exports have increased rapidly in recent years. While exports in the field of ITC services amounted to €8.6 billion in 2004, this figure had already increased to €18.7 billion by 2012. German-made ITC hardware and consumer electronics accounted for €29.2 billion in foreign exports in 2012.