The U.S. mobile worker population will grow at a steady rate over the next five years, rising from 96.2 million in 2015 to 105.4 million in 2020, according to a new study by International Data Corp. (IDC).

By the end of the forecast period, the firm expects mobile workers to account for nearly three quarters (72%) of the total U.S. workforce. The key drivers behind the growth in the U.S. mobile workforce include the increasing affordability of smartphones and tablets combined with the growing acceptance of corporate bring-your-own-device (BYOD) programs.

In addition, innovations in mobile technology such as biometric readers, wearables, voice control, near-field communications (NFC), and augmented reality are enabling workers in completely new ways, IDC says, increasing productivity by enhancing communications and business workflows.

"Mobility has become synonymous with productivity both inside and outside the workplace, and the mass adoption of mobile technology in the United States has cultivated an environment where workers expect to leverage mobile technology at work," Bryan Bassett, research analyst, mobile enterprise device solutions at IDC, said in a statement.

"This expectation will be supplemented by new solutions specifically intended to manage the challenges associated with the growing needs of the mobile workforce," Bassett said.

Other key findings of the report are that office-based and non-office-based mobile worker populations will stay in relative balance to one another throughout the forecast; and manufacturing, construction, retail and healthcare workers are inherently more mobile and these industries are expected to see faster growth in their mobile worker population than other vertical markets.

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