Glossary:Knowledge Intensive Activity (KIA)

An activity is classified as knowledge intensive if employed tertiary educated persons (according to ISCED 97 levels 5+6, according to ISCED 2011 levels 5 to 8) represent more than 33 % of the total employment in that activity. The definition is built based on the average number of employed persons aged 15-64 at aggregated EU-27 level according to NACE at 2-digit, using EU Labour Force Survey data [1]

The KIA employment indicator was developed to offer an average, harmonised across all the sectors, to compare economies in regard to their knowledge intensity.

The total employment ratio is calculated on the population aged 15-64 according to the following formula:

$ \frac{Number\ of\ persons\ employed\ in\ sectors\ identified\ as\ knowledge\ intensive}{Total\ number\ of\ persons\ employed} $

There are two aggregates in use based on this classification: total Knowledge Intensive Activities (KIA) and Knowledge Intensive Activities – Business Industries (KIABI).

Further information

For more detailed information of the Knowledge Intensive Activities definitions, see:

Statistical data


  1. Due to the revision of NACE from Rev. 1.1 to Rev. 2, the definition of Knowledge Intensive Activities has changed respectively