This question has been asked (and closed) in various forms across this network, ie:

Stack Overflow: How many software developers are there in the world?

Programmers: Where can I find statistics on worldwide developers and software companies?

It has never been satisfactorily answered on Stack Exchange, or elsewhere (unless, maybe, you want to pay $16,500 for an enterprise report).

Is there any centralized source of structured data on international labor statistics that provides the opportunity of sorting by "software developers" or "programmers," and also by population per country?

Or do I have to pay $20K for an enterprise report?

  • 4
    Only the data from Bureau of Labor Statistics (for the US), and Eurostat (the EU) are reliable. Indian Ministry of Labour and Employment is so bad that its Economic and Statistical Analysis page yields a 404 error. I suspect that short of $20K, you'll have to gather employment data corporation by corporation. There are some approximate figures at NSF based on this survey. Jul 18, 2013 at 4:07

2 Answers 2


The databases at the International Labour Organization (specifically ILOSTAT and LABORSTA) are tantalisingly close to what you're after. For example, go to LABORSTA and select Employment, then select Employment for detailed occupational groups by sex (SEGREGAT). This allows you to select a country and view a breakdown of detailed occupational groups which includes "computing professionals". Not quite "software developers" but perhaps a reasonable proxy if you're interested in comparing across countries. Note that the main LABORSTA statistics also break down by occupation but sadly the list of occupations lacks detail.

ILOSTAT is the whiz-bang successor to LABORSTA, but it seems the data is no more detailed than described above. Sadly, in neither case does there seem to be an option to download bulk data, rather you are compelled to view results on a per country basis.

  • Thx @snubian! Tho as you suggest, even this resource is woefully incomplete. Ie. SEGREGAT only lists data up to 2000 for most countries, and many countries liberally bucket programmers into categories like "Engineering & Technical Professions" (China). Still, it may be that there's no better resource out there.... Jul 18, 2013 at 14:05

New research published at the weekend suggests that the UK currently has 270,000 digital companies (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-23399134) out of about 2.1 million total businesses (http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/bus-register/uk-business/2011/sum-ukbusiness-2011.html).

This suggests that in the UK, at least, digital companies (most likely to emply developers) make up a sizable chunk of the workforce.

You can get at the official UK breakdown of activity type (http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/bus-register/uk-business/2011/index.html)

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