Administrative and support service statistics - NACE Rev. 2

Data from May 2017. Most recent data: Further Eurostat information, Main tables and Database. Planned article update: October 2018

This article presents an overview of statistics for the European Union’s (EU) administrative and support services, as covered by NACE Rev. 2 Section N. Administrative and support services comprise a variety of activities that support business operations; they can be distinguished from professional, scientific and technical services (Section M) in that their primary purpose is not the transfer of specialised knowledge. It belongs to a set of statistical articles on 'Business economy by sector'.

Table 1: Key indicators, administrative and support service activities (NACE Section N), EU-28, 2014 - Source: Eurostat (sbs_na_1a_se_r2)
Figure 1: Sectoral analysis of administrative and support service activities (NACE Section N), EU-28, 2014
(% share of sectoral total) - Source: Eurostat (sbs_na_1a_se_r2)
Table 2a: Sectoral analysis of key indicators, administrative and support service activities (NACE Section N), EU-28, 2014 - Source: Eurostat (sbs_na_1a_se_r2)
Table 2b: Sectoral analysis of key indicators, administrative and support service activities (NACE Section N), EU-28, 2014 - Source: Eurostat (sbs_na_1a_se_r2)
Figure 2: Relative importance of administrative and support service activities (NACE Section N), 2014
(% share of value added and employment in the non-financial business economy total) - Source: Eurostat (sbs_na_1a_se_r2)
Figure 3: Concentration of value added and employment, administrative and support service activities (NACE Section N), 2014
(cumulative share of the five principal Member States as a % of the EU-28 total) - Source: Eurostat (sbs_na_1a_se_r2)
Table 3: Largest and most specialised Member States in administrative and support service activities (NACE Section N), EU-28, 2014 - Source: Eurostat (sbs_na_1a_se_r2)
Table 4a: Key indicators, administrative and support service activities (NACE Section N), 2014 - Source: Eurostat (sbs_na_1a_se_r2)
Table 4b: Key indicators, administrative and support service activities (NACE Section N), 2014 - Source: Eurostat (sbs_na_1a_se_r2)
Table 5: Key size class indicators, administrative and support service activities (NACE Section N), EU-28, 2014 - Source: Eurostat (sbs_sc_1b_se_r2)
Figure 4: Relative importance of enterprise size classes, administrative and support service activities (NACE Section N), EU-28, 2014
(% share of sectoral total) - Source: Eurostat (sbs_sc_1b_se_r2)
Figure 5: Sectoral analysis of employment by enterprise size class, administrative and support service activities (NACE Section N), EU-28, 2014
(% share of sectoral employment) - Source: Eurostat (sbs_sc_1b_se_r2)
Figure 6: Sectoral analysis of value added by enterprise size class, administrative and support service activities (NACE Section N), EU-28, 2014
(% share of sectoral value added) - Source: Eurostat (sbs_sc_1b_se_r2)
Table 6a: Number of persons employed by enterprise size class, administrative and support service activities (NACE Section N), 2014 - Source: Eurostat (sbs_sc_1b_se_r2)
Table 6b: Value added by enterprise size class, administrative and support service activities (NACE Section N), 2014 - Source: Eurostat (sbs_sc_1b_se_r2)
Figure 7: Ten largest NUTS 2 regions in terms of employment, administrative and support service activities (NACE Section N), EU-28 and Norway, 2014
(thousands) - Source: Eurostat (sbs_r_nuts06_r2)

Main statistical findings

Structural profile

In 2014 there were 1.4 million enterprises active within the administrative and support services sector (Section N) in the EU-28; this was equivalent to 6.1 % of the non-financial business economy (Sections B to J and L to N and Division 95) enterprise population. Many administrative and support services are labour-intensive activities and often the staff employed in these activities work on a part-time basis, for example, in cleaning activities (part of services to buildings and landscape activities), security and investigation activities, or employment activities. EU-28 employment for the administrative and support services sector reached 14.2 million in 2014, a 10.5 % share of the non-financial business economy workforce; in value added terms the administrative and support services sector contributed EUR 486 billion, some 7.4 % of the non-financial business economy total.

Average personnel costs for the EU-28’s administrative and support services sector in 2014 were equal to EUR 23.5  thousand per employee, which was below the non-financial business economy average (EUR 33.3  thousand per employee). This was the second lowest level of average personnel costs among the non-financial business economy NACE sections, higher only than for the accommodation and food sector (Section I). Both of these sectors are traditionally characterised as employing a high proportion of part-time employees, which has a downward influence on average personnel costs (which are measured in terms of a head count). The wage-adjusted labour productivity ratio is based on the relation between value added and personnel costs and is expressed as a percentage and not a per head value, and so is not directly influenced by the incidence of part-time employment. For the administrative and support services sector the wage-adjusted labour productivity ratio was 146.0 % in the EU-28 in 2014, which was only just above the non-financial business economy average (145.6 %). The gross operating rate (the relation between the gross operating surplus and turnover stood at 18.5 % for the EU-28’s administrative and support services sector in 2014, well above the non-financial business economy average (10.1 %).

Sectoral analysis

Figure 1 shows the varied contributions, depending upon whether value added or employment is chosen, of the various subsectors to the administrative and support services sectorial total. Employment services (Division 78) and services to buildings and landscape activities (Division 81) accounted for the highest shares of sectorial employment and value added, although their contribution to value added was considerably lower. The security and investigation activities (Division 80) subsector was also characterised as having a higher share of sectorial employment than value added. By contrast, the capital-intensive rental and leasing activities subsector (Division 77) had a much higher value added share (20.0 %) than its employment share (4.7 %), indicating a very high apparent labour productivity ratio. The same was true — although to a much lesser degree — for the two remaining subsectors: the office administrative, office support and other business support activities subsector (Division 82) and the travel agency, tour operator reservation service and related activities subsector (Division 79).

Both apparent labour productivity and average personnel costs in 2014 were below the non-financial business economy average for five of the subsectors (except rental and leasing activities).

As such, the EU-28’s rental and leasing subsector was the main exception, as each person employed in this subsector generated an average of EUR 145.0  thousand of value added in 2014 (which was almost 3 times as high as the non-financial business economy average), while average personnel costs were EUR 36.3  thousand per employee, only slightly above the non-financial business economy average (EUR 33.3  thousand per employee). This high level of apparent labour productivity for the rental and leasing subsector reflects the nature of the activity which often involves purchasing capital assets and generating operating income from these assets. The rental and leasing subsector typically has very low operating expenditure while the levels of depreciation, financial charges or extraordinary expenditure may be high — none of these charges are taken into account in the calculation of value added. The elevated apparent labour productivity and relatively subdued average personnel costs translated into a very high wage-adjusted labour productivity ratio for the EU-28’s rental and leasing subsector, namely 400.0 %. At the NACE division level, this was the second highest wage-adjusted labour productivity ratio across the whole of the non-financial business economy, lower only than the extraction of crude petroleum and natural gas (Division 06). Among the five remaining administrative and support services subsectors the only other activity to record a wage-adjusted labour productivity ratio in the EU-28 that was above the non-financial business economy average (145.6 %) in 2014 was that of travel agency, tour operator reservation service and related activities (200.0 %). The four subsectors with lower than average wage-adjusted labour productivity ratios posted values that ranged from 110.0 % for security and investigation activities to 132.0 % for office administrative, office support and other business support activities.

As well as its very high levels of productivity, the EU-28’s rental and leasing subsector also had a very high gross operating rate. Indeed, the rental and leasing activities subsector recorded the third highest gross operating rate (41.3 % in 2014) among all of the NACE divisions within the non-financial business economy, just behind renting and operating and operating of own or leased real estate (Division 682) and real estate activities (Division 68). The gross operating rate for the rental and leasing subsector was 4.1 times as high as the average for the whole of the non-financial business economy (10.1 %). Gross operating rates in three subsectors that constitute the administrative and support services sector were much lower but recorded gross operating rates that were above the non-financial business economy average.

Country analysis

The United Kingdom and Malta were both relatively specialised in the administrative and support service activities sector in 2014, as were Belgium, Ireland, France, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. In the Netherlands, the administrative and support service activities sector provided employment to 16.9 % of the non-financial business economy workforce, which was 1.6 times the EU-28 average. In value added terms, the United Kingdom was the most specialised EU Member State, as 10.9 % of its non-financial business economy value added was generated in the administrative and support service activities sector (1.5 times the EU-28 average).

By contrast, the relative weight of the administrative and support service activities sector in 2014 was less than half the EU-28 average (in value added terms) in Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Croatia, Cyprus and Slovenia. Croatia recorded the lowest share, with 2.7 % of its non-financial business economy value added generated in the administrative and support service activities sector (compared with an EU-28 average of 7.4 %). Cyprus had the lowest share in employment terms, as the administrative and support service activities sector provided work to 4.5 % of its non-financial business economy workforce (compared with an EU-28 average of 10.5 %).

The relative importance of the administrative and support service activities sector was also lower than the EU-28 average in the non-member countries. This sector accounted for 4.4 % of the value added and 8.5 % of the workforce within the Norwegian non-financial business economy; and 4.6 % of the value added and 8.8 % of the workforce in Switzerland, some 3.0 and 2.0 percentage points lower for Norway and 2.8 and 1.7 percentage points lower for Switzerland than the EU-28 average.

Within the administrative and support service activities sector, value added and employment were relatively concentrated in geographical terms: the five largest EU Member States generated 76.6 % of EU-28 added value while their share in the administrative and support services’ workforce was 69.8 %.

As a result of its high specialisation in value added terms, the United Kingdom had the largest administrative and support services sector among the EU Member States, generating EUR 131.9 billion of added value (some 27.1 % of the EU-28 total), ahead of Germany (EUR 105.2 billion). By contrast, Germany had the largest workforce, 3.2 million persons, equivalent to 22.4 % of the EU-28 total, while there were 2.4million persons employed in the administrative and support services sector in the United Kingdom.

Among the six subsectors which form administrative and support services (at the NACE division level), the United Kingdom generated the highest level of value added for five of them with shares ranging from 1.3 % to 8.3 % of the EU-28's value added. The only subsector not dominated by the United Kingdom was the services to buildings and landscape activities subsector for which Germany accounted for 4.9 % of the EU-28’s value added.

The United Kingdom featured also among the most specialised EU Member States (in terms of value added) for two of the six subsectors which form administrative and support services, namely for the employment activities and office administrative, office support and other business support activities subsectors; it accounted, respectively, for 3.3 % and 2.7 % of the value added in the UK’s non-financial business economy. Several Member States were particularly strongly specialised in just one of the subsectors, the most notable examples being: Ireland for rental and leasing activities; Malta for travel agency, tour operator reservation service and related activities; Greece for security and investigation activities; and Finland for the services to buildings and landscape activities subsector.

Portugal (96.5 %), Sweden (97.3 %) and Slovenia (105.1&nbsp%%) recorded the lowest wage-adjusted labour productivity ratios among the EU Member States for administrative and support services sector with ratios close to parity (100 %). In the majority of the Member States, the wage-adjusted labour productivity ratio was below the average for the non-financial business economy (145.6 %); the only exceptions to this pattern were recorded in Germany (149.0 %), Ireland (265.0 %), Latvia (149.6 %), Lithuania (149.7 %), Luxembourg (205.5 %), Malta (182.2 %), the Netherlands (151.2 %), Austria (148.6 %), Romania (151.4 %), Slovakia (145.9.6 %) and the United Kingdom (202.5 %).

Size class analysis

The 6.3 thousand large enterprises (employing 250 or more persons) that were active within the EU-28’s administrative and support service activities sector in 2014 employed more than half of the sectorial workforce (50.9 %), and accounted for more than two fifths (43.1 %) of sectorial added value. As such, large enterprises within the administrative and support service activities sector recorded the third highest share of employment within large enterprises across all of the NACE sections that constitute the non-financial business economy.

The contributions made by micro, small and medium-sized enterprises to the EU-28’s administrative and support service activities workforce were similar: small enterprises (employing 10 to 49 persons) accounted for 13.6 % of the sectorial workforce in 2014, a share that rose through 17.3 % of the total for micro enterprises (employing less than 10 persons) to 18.2 % for medium-sized enterprises (employing 50 to 249 persons). Each of the three enterprise size classes that compose the small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs, employing fewer than 250 persons) aggregate reported a higher share of sectorial value added than sectorial employment, indicating they had higher apparent labour productivity ratios than large enterprises; this was particularly the case for micro and medium-sized enterprises.

Within the six subsectors that compose the administrative and support service activities sector, large enterprises in the EU-28 accounted for a majority of the workforce within the employment activities subsector (67.4 %) and the security and investigation activities subsector (57.1 %). By contrast, large enterprises employed less than a quarter (22.4 %) of the workforce within the the rental and leasing activities subsector.

In value added terms, large enterprises in the EU-28 accounted for around 60.0 % of value added in the employment activities subsector and in the security and investigation activities subsector. The share of large enterprises in value added fell to a low of 29.0 % for the rental and leasing activities subsector. Small and medium-sized enterprises generated a higher proportion of value added for rental and leasing activities (71.0 %), service to buildings and landscape activities (58.1 %) and for office administrative, office support and other business support activities (69.9 %).

The relative importance of large enterprises in terms of their contribution to the workforce within the administrative and support service activities sector was highest in Belgium, Spain, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, where upwards of 55 % of the workforce was engaged by large enterprises, peaking at 59.3 % in the United Kingdom.

By contrast, small and medium-sized enterprises accounted for the majority of the value added that was generated in the administrative and support service activities sector in each of the EU Member States for which data are available for 2014, with one exception of Spain (47.3 %). Their highest share was registered in Latvia (88.0 %), while SMEs accounted for 70.0 % – 86.0 % of the value added generated by administrative and support service activities in Cyprus, Croatia, Ireland, Luxembourg, Malta Austria and Slovakia.

Regional analysis

The Île de France (which includes the French capital city of Paris) recorded the highest number of persons employed, across NUTS level 2 regions within the EU-28, for the administrative and support service activities sector in 2014. With a workforce of 880.5  thousand persons, the Île de France accounted for 6.2 % of the total number of persons employed in the EU-28 in this sector, which was almost three times as high as the second largest regional employer, namely, the German region of Düsseldorf (317.6  thousand persons).

The ranking of the largest regions suggests that employment within the EU-28’s administrative and support service activities sector was largely concentrated in urban regions — particularly those containing large cities. Aside from Paris, the capital city regions containing Madrid, London, Lisbon, Amsterdam, Rome and Berlin all featured among the top 20 regions for employment within the administrative and support service activities sector. There were a number of other large cities within the ranking, as the regions containing Lyon and Marseille (in France), Frankfurt, Cologne, Munich and Stuttgart (in Germany), Barcelona and Seville (in Spain), Milan (in Italy) and Rotterdam (in the Netherlands) were also present among the top 20.

The relative importance of the administrative and support service activities sector can be analysed by comparing the employment of this sector with the non-financial business economy workforce. Among the 201 NUTS level 2 regions for which data are available in 2014, the median share of the administrative and support service activities sector in the non-financial business economy workforce was 9.6 %. Using this measure, the Portuguese region of Lisbon recorded the highest share of employment for the administrative and support service activities sector within its non-financial business economy workforce, at 22.4 %. Despite such a high share, the administrative and support service activities sector was not the leading employer, as the distributive trades sector (Section G) accounted for 23.6 % employed in the non-financial business economy workforce of Lisbon. Indeed, across all of the NUTS level 2 regions in the EU-28 (for which data are available), the administrative and support service activities sector was never the largest employer, based on an analysis of NACE sections within the non-financial business economy.

Aside from the region of Lisbon, the administrative and support service activities sector accounted for a relatively high share of the non-financial business economy workforce in several other regions in the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and France. The administrative and support service activities sector accounted for a share between 15.0 % and 19.8 % of the non-financial business economy workforce in Noord-Brabant, Noord-Holland (capital region of the Netherlands), Zuid-Holland, Limburg, Overijssel, Gelderland, Flevoland, Friesland, Groningen, Utrecht (all in the Netherlands); as well as in West Yorkshire, Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire (in the center of the United Kingdom), Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire, Inner London, Outer London (all in the south of the United Kingdom), Southwestern Scotland (in the north of the United Kingdom); and the French regions of Rhône-Alpes (that includes Lyon), the Île de France and Lorraine; the Belgian regions of Brussels and Antwerp; and in the Community of Madrid.

Data sources and availability

Coverage

Administrative and support services (Section N) include the following six NACE divisions:

  • rental and leasing of motor vehicles, personal and household goods, machinery and equipment, and intellectual property (Division 77);
  • employment activities including recruitment and personnel selection services, as well as job placement services (Division 78);
  • travel agency, tour operator, reservation services and related activities (Division 79);
  • security and investigation activities, including the transportation of valuables (Division 80);
  • services to buildings and landscape activities including combined facilities support and cleaning services (Division 81);
  • office administrative, office support and other business support activities, including call centres and the organisation of trade shows (Division 82).

The administrative and support services sector does not include financial leasing which is considered as a financial service. Renting of real estate is also excluded as is the renting of equipment with operator which is included as appropriate in the construction sector (Section F) or the transportation and storage sector (Section H). Employment activities do not include agents of individual artists which are considered to be part of a professional activity (Section M) as is the provision of security consultancy and landscape design (rather than landscaping itself). Security services do not include public order and safety activities (for example, by the police). Cleaning services do not include car washing which is part of motor trades within the activity of distributive trades (Section G).

Data sources

The analysis presented in this article is based on the main dataset for structural business statistics (SBS), size class data and regional data, all of which are published annually.

The main series provides information for each EU Member State as well as a number of non-member countries at a detailed level according to the activity classification NACE. Data are available for a wide range of variables.

In structural business statistics, size classes are generally defined by the number of persons employed. A limited set of the standard structural business statistics variables (for example, the number of enterprises, turnover, persons employed and value added) are analysed by size class, mostly down to the three-digit (group) level of NACE. The main size classes used in this article for presenting the results are:

  • small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs): with 1 to 249 persons employed, further divided into;
    • micro enterprises: with less than 10 persons employed;
    • small enterprises: with 10 to 49 persons employed;
    • medium-sized enterprises: with 50 to 249 persons employed;
  • large enterprises: with 250 or more persons employed.

Regional SBS data are available at NUTS levels 1 and 2 for the EU Member States and Norway, mostly down to the two-digit (division) level of NACE. Regional data for Croatia was not available for 2012. The main variable analysed in this article is the number of persons employed. The type of statistical unit used for regional SBS data is normally the local unit, which is an enterprise or part of an enterprise situated in a geographically identified place. Local units are classified into sectors (by NACE) normally according to their own main activity, but in some EU Member States the activity code is assigned on the basis of the principal activity of the enterprise to which the local unit belongs. The main SBS data series are presented at national level only, and for this national data the statistical unit is the enterprise. It is possible for the principal activity of a local unit to differ from that of the enterprise to which it belongs. Hence, national SBS data from the main series are not necessarily directly comparable with national aggregates compiled from regional SBS.

Context

The freedom to provide services and the freedom of establishment are central principles to the internal market for services. They guarantee EU enterprises the freedom to establish themselves in other Member States, and the freedom to provide services on the territory of another EU Member State. The Directive on services in the internal market (COM(2006) 123) aims to achieve a genuine internal market in services, removing legal and administrative barriers to the development of services activities between Member States. As well as covering most administrative and support service activities (with the notable exception of services of temporary work agencies and private security services), the Directive applies to a wide variety of services including many industrial and construction activities, as well as distributive trades, accommodation and food services, real estate, and professional, scientific and technical services.

Rental and leasing services are provided to households and to business clients. The use of renting or operating leasing can increase financial flexibility, reducing the need to commit own capital, whether for machinery, equipment or appliances. Personnel services may be supplied to persons looking for work or to an enterprise trying to hire. Security and investigation activities as well as services to buildings and landscape activities are mainly business services, although there is also a market for these services among households.

Travel agencies are enterprises that are engaged in arranging transport, accommodation and catering on behalf of travellers. Travel agents act as retailers selling travel services or packaged trips to the customer. Traditionally, tour operators acted as wholesalers to travel agents but they have moved more recently towards selling directly to customers. Tourist guides and tourist information services play a supporting role, offering information and services usually at the tourism destination. According to Eurostat’s information society statistics, almost one quarter (24 %) of all individuals (aged 16 to 74) booked travel and/or holiday accommodation over the internet in 2012; this may be directly with travel and accommodation providers, or with intermediaries.

See also

Structural business statistics introduced

More detailed analysis of administrative and support service activities: Other analyses of the business economy by NACE Rev. 2 sector

Further Eurostat information

Publications

Main tables

Database

SBS – services (serv)
Annual detailed enterprise statistics - services (sbs_na_serv)
Annual detailed enterprise statistics for services (NACE Rev. 2 H-N and S95) (sbs_na_1a_se_r2)
SMEs - Annual enterprise statistics by size classes - services (sbs_sc_sc)
Services by employment size classes (NACE Rev. 2 H-N and S95) (sbs_sc_1b_se_r2)
SBS - regional data - all activities (sbs_r)
SBS data by NUTS 2 regions and NACE Rev. 2 (from 2008 onwards) (sbs_r_nuts06_r2)

Dedicated section

Other information

External links