Whether the MP3 or the first fully automated computer by Conrad Zuse – innovative talent has a long tradition in Germany’s ICT sector. And it continues to shape the sector even today. In fact, the German ICT sector is considered one of the most innovative in the world. The revenues speak for themselves. With a share of 4.6 percent of the worldwide ICT-turnover in 2014, the German ICT market is the world’s fourth-largest.
Around 12 percent of the current international patent applications in the field of ICT have been filed by German companies. The US and Japan are the only countries that have filed more applications. Innovations in the ICT sector represented some 10.5 percent of Germany’s total innovation expenditures in 2013. The ICT industry distinguishes itself through a high in innovator rate of 74 percent and thus the top of innovation-richest industry pharmaceutical industry and mechanical engineering, followed by chemistry and. The ratio indicates the percentage of enterprises that have introduced a new product or process within the last three years.
Since the innovations from other industries are also based to a great extent on information and communications technologies, the ICT sector also drives growth and inventions in other industries. Around 36 percent of the companies in Germany introduced innovations in 2013 which would not have been possible without information and communications technologies. Germany also hosts the world’s largest IT trade fair, CeBIT, each year. This venue brings together more than 3,300 exhibitors representing some 70 countries.
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.
This faster pace of change and innovation also calls for adequately qualified professionals. The some 960,000 people employed in the sector work in the areas of information technology (IT), telecommunications, and consumer electronics. With revenues exceeding €63.3 billion, information technology held the largest share on the German ICT market in 2014.
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, more than two thirds (68 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.
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 ICT services amounted to €8.6 billion in 2004, this figure had already increased to €21.8 billion by 2014. German-made ICT hardware and consumer electronics accounted for €31.5 billion in foreign exports in 2014.