Microsoft predicts 80,000 IT jobs for UK

Almost 80,000 new jobs will be created over the next four years as thousands of new technology firms set up in business in the UK, technology giant Microsoft predicted today.

Research by the firm suggested more than £50bn will be spent on information technology (IT) this year and will increase by 1.8 per cent a year between now and 2013.

The IT market will drive the creation of nearly 2,500 new businesses and 78,200 new jobs between the end of this year and 2013, according to the study.

Most of the new companies will be small and locally owned organisations, and the jobs will be highly skilled and high-quality, said the report,

Microsoft underwent a "cultural reformation" when it felt the effect of the global recession, chief executive Steve Ballmer said today.

"Consumer spending was impacted, we had to decide how to cut. We suffered the first revenue declines in our company history. They were a few per cent," he said during a visit to London.

"I had a journalist say to me: 'Severe revenue decline' and I had to concede that any revenue decline felt severe if you've never had one.

"It was a cultural reformation for us," he said in the CBI annual lecture.

Microsoft "locked" its research and development budget and made sure it keep enough money to continue to establish new businesses, he said.

"We are trying to give Google a little competition in the search business. They may be trying to give us a little competition in some other ways."

American Ballmer, who joined Microsoft in 1980, and was the first business manager hired by Bill Gates, said he was optimistic about the future but called for greater investment in future generations.

He said: "I am super-enthusiastic about the possibilities for the future, for business at large and for information technology as a propellant of that.

"Whether as a company, industry or society, we have to focus on developing the talent we're going to need.

"That probably means more investment in education, particularly in science, technology, engineering and maths.

"These are areas in which the UK, the US, the developed economies are not investing in the same ways as emerging economies."

He added that IT would play a critical part in the future and in economic recovery.

"Information technology is more critical than ever, it's got a more important role to play ... I think there will be about three times as many jobs created in information technology than in the economy at large."