Thanks for agreeing to limit my response to Information Technology
According to Jack Molisani, a high-tech writer in Northern California,
The high-tech industry in the United States spends billions of
a year staffing tech support departments. (This from the ASP
website, Association of Support Professionals.)
I spoke with Molisani, and he said he reached that figure by taking
the expenditures of one company and multiplying it. He says no one
knows the specific number.
The Department of Labor Statistics reports
that in 2000 there were about 506,000 computer support specialists
working in the United States. By 2008, the number of jobs is projected
to reach 869,000.
I spoke with Carrie Higday, who is with the Marketing Group
of the Help Desk Institute, an association of customer support
Higday says that there was a sharp drop-off in employment two years
ago, and numbers will probably never reach what they were at that
high. But she says there is a strong recovery going on, and she
that growth in the industry is about 5-6% a year now, and for the near
future. She says there are approximately 1 to 1.5 million people
employed worldwide in tech support.
Now for the paid aspect! I spoke with Ron Johnson, Director of
Community Development for the SSPA, the Services and Support
They are an umbrella organization for Services and Support
Johnson said he cant share statistics with you about the size of
the customer support market unless you are a member of his
organization. But I pressed him for his gut feeling about what
proportion of tech support is paid, and he said about 60%.
So! 60% of say, 400,000 people is 240,000 working at "paid" customer
support. (Or, you can join the group and perhaps find out the dollar
There is a research report called Trends in Fee-Based
Services, done by the Association of Service Professionals.
It may contain much of the info you are looking for. It is
free to members of the ASP, or you can order it for $60
Theres another good-looking report on The Economics of Web Based
Support, also by ASP, which you can order at:
For an example of one companys fee-based support charges, you
can go to Netsites.com at
Here are their charges:
Personal Support Options (U.S. Dollars)
Your Dime(You Pay LongDistance Charges) Our Dime(We Pay Long Distance
1 Hour 65.00 130.00
2 Hours 130.00 195.00
3 Hours 195.00 260.00
4 Hours 260.00 325.00
5 Hours 325.00 390.00
The Aberdeen Group does research and Market Analysis in the
IT sector. They provide much of their research free if you
register on their website. Go to:
and you will find their research on CRM, the industry acronym for
Customer Relationship Management.
While attempting to look at your larger question I found this:
Customer Service Representatives held 1.9 million jobs in 2000, and
projections are that this sector will grow faster than all others
through 2010. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (
The US Bureau of Economic Analysis is at
You can look there at figures for Gross Domestic Product by Industry,
however, theres not a separate breakout for customer support.
I hope this sheds some light on your search for information.
Before you rate this answer, please give me the chance to
clarify anything Ive left unclear or incomplete.
Search Strategy on Google:
customer support market
paid customer support
technical support market
technical support dollars
customer service market
paid customer support
Phoned Aberdeen Group and left message for Margie Konig.
Phoned Gartner Group at 408-468-8000
IDC does market research. I phoned them at 508-935-4200.
They responded that they only cover tech support, and
dont give away their research for free.
Website is at http://www.idc.com
Elisabeth Allbright for the Help Desk Institute:
Website at www.thinkhdi.com