How many software developers does the average SME employ in the United States, in the United Kingdom, in Europe and in Asia?

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How many software developers does the average SME employ in the United States, in the United Kingdom, in Europe and in Asia?

Hi, thanks for asking about the number of software developers employed by SMEs in the US, the UK, Europe, and Asia. After a ton of digging, I found that the average number of software developers working at each SME is as follows: 12.4 in the US, 4.1 in the UK, 2.6 in Europe, and 8.9 in Asia. The most useful sources I found to answer your question are US BLS, Eurostat, and ADB Institute. Below, you will find a more extensive account of my findings as well as an in-depth explanation of how I came to these conclusions.

METHODOLOGY
In order to complete this research, I started by looking for pre-compiled data regarding the number of software developers working at an average SME in various regions. After reviewing numerous reports, however, it seems that there are no sources that have covered this topic yet. Because of this, I have focused on finding the most recent, relevant, and reliable sources available to calculate the data that we’re looking for. During the course of this research, I found that although there are differences between an SMB and SME, they are usually used interchangeably in terms of company size. As such, I also utilized data pertaining to SMBs for cases where SME figures are not available.

UNITED STATES
According to the latest data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are 1.114 million software developers working in the US for the year 2014. Their growth projections from 2014 to 2024 suggests that the number of professionals working in this area is increasing by 1.56% each year. This means that in 2017, the number of software developers in the country is approximately 1.242 million. Employment data from the US BLS suggests that majority of software developers in the country are employed in the IT, computer manufacturing, or technical services industry. Furthermore, data from Select USA reveals that there is roughly 100,000 software and IT services firms in the US, 99% of which are SMBs.

The Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council defines SMBs as those with less than 500 employees. Looking at the latest data from the US Census Bureau regarding the number of firms according to size, we’ll find that 99.7% of companies in the US have less than 500 employees. They are further broken down as follows: 0-4 employees (62%), 5-9 employees (17%), 10-19 employees (11%), 20-99 employees (9%), and 100-499 employees (2%). This classification suggests that SMBs, on average, have 14.6 employees and that there are approximately 1.46 million people employed in this industry. From this, we can assume that software developers account to 85.1% (1.114 million software developers / 1.46 million employees) of each firm’s staff. With an average employment size of 14.6, we can conclude that there are 12.4 software developers employed on an average SMB in the US.

UNITED KINGDOM
Data published by Statista reveals that there are 289,000 software developers working in the UK. According to Eurostat, only 23% of the 1,703,562 companies in the UK are employing Information and Communication Technology (ICT) specialists. This means that software developers, on average, comprise 73.8% of a company’s team (289,000 / 1,703,562 x 0.23). Another data set published by Eurostat shows that there are 1,698,451 SMEs in the UK employing 9,425,849 people. These numbers suggest that on average, SMEs in the country employs a total of 5.5 people. Knowing that 73.8% of each SME’s staff is made up of software developers, we can conclude that on average, there are 4.1 software developers employed in a UK SME.

EUROPE
The most recent data published by Eurostat shows that 3.5% of the total employment in the region is made up of ICT specialists. Additionally, a report published by InfoQ indicates that 63.9% of ICT specialists are software developers. This means that approximately 2.2% (or 2.943 million) of the 133.8 million people employed in the region is made up of software developers. Another data published by Eurostat reveals that only 20% of the 22.347 million companies in Europe are employing ICTs. This means that there are only 4.469 million firms with software developers in their team. From these numbers, we can conclude that on average, 65.9% of each European company’s team is made up of software developers (2.943 million software developers / 4.469 million firms).

According to a recent Eurostat data, there are 22,302,036 SMEs in Europe who employs a total of 89,624,123 people. This suggests that on average, there are 4.02 people employed in a European SME. Earlier, we’ve learned that 65.9% of a European company’s team is comprised of software developers. With an average size of 4.02 people, we can conclude that there are 2.6 software developers employed in an average European SME.

ASIA
Data published by InfoQ shows that there are roughly 4.074 million software developers in the Asia Pacific region. Figures from The World Bank, on the other hand, reveals that there are 2.243 billion people working in Asia:

Central Asia: 273,968,610
East Asia and Pacific: 1,254,800,730
South Asia: 686,116,170
Total: 2,214,885,510

According to a report published by Spring Asia, the Asian IT sector covers 2.9% (or $767 billion) of the entire Asian GDP ($26.518 trillion). From these figures, we can assume that only 65.1 million people (2.243 billion x 0.029) are employed in the Asian IT industry. Knowing that there are 4.074 million software developers in Asia will tell us that on average, roughly 6.3% of each Asian company accounts to software developers. The following figures show the total number of companies in Asia according to The World Bank:

Central Asia: 2.406 million
East Asia and Pacific: 17.325 million
South Asia: 6.672 million
Total: 26.403 million

A 2015 report published by ADB Institute suggests that SME covers 38.6% of the total GDP in Asia. Based on this data, we can assume that there are roughly 10.2 million SMEs in the region. Moreover, ADB Institute also shows that SME’s share of the total employment in the area is 65%, suggesting that there are 1.44 billion people working in the Asian SME sector. From these figures, we can assume that an average SME in Asia has 141.2 employees (1.44 billion employees / 10.2 million SMEs). Furthermore, applying what we’ve learned earlier regarding the average portion of an Asian company that is covered by software developers (6.3%) will lead us to the conclusion that there are approximately 8.9 software developers working in an average SME in Asia.

In summary, my research has found that the average number of software developers working at each SME is as follows: 12.4 in the US, 4.1 in the UK, 2.6 in Europe, and 8.9 in Asia.

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