The internet will create three million web-related jobs in Europe's five largest economies by 2002, up from a measly 517,000 in 1998, according to a new study commissioned by Andersen Consulting.
But the actual figure could top 10 million in Europe and the US if internet-related jobs in all industries are included, said the report.
Spectrum Strategy Consultants examined potential jobs created by dotcoms, portals, software consultants, web designers and service providers.
In 1998, the internet helped create 2.1 million jobs in the US and 517,000 in Germany, France, Ireland, Italy, Spain and the UK combined. By 2002, those figures will have soared to 5.8 million and three million respectively.
According to Steve Freeman, a partner at Andersen Consulting, the traditional technology deployment gap between the US and Europe will narrow because of Europe's success with wireless web technology. There is currently a two-year lag between Europe and the US, but this is expected to narrow to one year by 2003.
"In the US we tell ourselves that PC penetration is high but we didn't take into account the effect of wireless technology," said Freeman. "In Europe, many people's first experience of the internet will be through their mobile phones rather than PCs."
He believes many of the jobs in Europe will be about creating inventive wireless web applications, while the US is generally good at inventing software that powers the internet.
Freeman also believes the demand for internet skills will not lessen despite the recent high profile collapse of a few dotcoms and the current volatility of web-related stock.
"Those companies don't represent a significant percentage of the workforce. The capital bubble has been broken but this has not resulted in a decrease in demand," he said.
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