Archive:Architectural, engineering and technical services statistics - NACE Rev. 1.1

This Statistics Explained article is outdated and has been archived - for recent articles on structural business statistics see here.

Data from January 2009, most recent data: Further Eurostat information, Main tables and Database.

This article presents the European Union structural business statistics for

  • architectural and engineering activities, corresponding to NACE Group 74.2, which include:
  • architectural consulting activities (such as building design and drafting, supervision of construction, town and city planning, and landscape architecture);
  • various engineering and technical activities related to construction;
  • geological and prospecting activities;
  • weather forecasting activities;
  • geodetic surveying;
  • technical testing and analysis activities, corresponding to NACE Group 74.3, which include:
  • environmental measuring;
  • testing of food hygiene, buildings and equipment;
  • periodic testing of vehicles for roadworthiness.

In this article, these activities are collectively referred to as 'technical business services'.

Table 1: Architectural and engineering activities and related technical consultancy, 2007

Main statistical findings

Table 2: Architectural and engineering activities and related technical consultancy; technical testing and analysis (NACE Groups 74.2 and 74.3), 2006

The ten largest architectural enterprises (groups) in the EU are presented, based on information compiled by the Swedish Federation of Consulting Engineers and Architects (STD). As can be seen, the United Kingdom dominated this activity in 2007, as the six largest groups were British. However, even the largest groups were relatively small, with only the two largest having 1 000 or more employees.

Structural profile

Some EUR 129.6 billion of value added was generated in 2006 by the EU’s technical business services sector (NACE Groups 74.2 and 74.3), from a turnover of EUR 269.6 billion. This corresponded to 15.3 % of the total turnover for business services (NACE Divisions 72 and 74) and 14.5 % of the value added. There were 2.7 million persons employed across the 926.3 thousand enterprises that were active in this sector, equivalent to 12.4 % of the EU’s business services’ workforce and more than one fifth (21.2 %) of the business services’ enterprise population. Among the persons employed in this sector, 71.8 % were paid employees, the lowest level of this share among the business services sectors, indicating a high incidence of working proprietors and unpaid family workers.

The United Kingdom contributed the greatest share (23.4 %) of value added in the EU’s technical business services sector, the second largest contribution being recorded by Germany (17.4 %). However, Germany had a larger workforce in this sector than the United Kingdom. In value added terms, the United Kingdom, Sweden and France were the most specialised Member States in these activities in 2006, as this sector contributed between 2.7 % and 2.8 % to national non-financial business economy (NACE Sections C to I and K) value added. Bulgaria (2005) was the least specialised in this activity, generating just 1.0 % of its non-financial business economy value added in technical business services, with Poland, Cyprus (both 2005), Slovakia, Portugal and Latvia also recording shares below 1.5 %.

Expenditure and productivity

The share of personnel costs in operating expenditure was 35.0 % for the EU’s technical services sector in 2006, 4.5 percentage points below the business services average, but nevertheless far above the non-financial business economy average (16.1 %). Average personnel costs were relatively high, EUR 40.0 thousand per employee, while apparent labour productivity was EUR 47.2 thousand of value added per person employed, also above the business services average. The resulting wage-adjusted labour productivity ratio was low, 118.2 %, reflecting the high average personnel costs. This was the second lowest ratio among the business services activities. Italy and Belgium both recorded ratios below parity (100 %) indicating that average personnel costs were higher than apparent labour productivity. Only in Greece was the wage-adjusted labour productivity ratio for the technical business services sector above the national average for the non-financial business economy.

Data sources and availability

The main part of the analysis in this article is derived from structural business statistics (SBS), including core, business statistics which are disseminated regularly, as well as information compiled on a multi-yearly basis, and the latest results from development projects.

Other possible data sources include short-term statistics and the Labour force survey. In addition, use has also been made of specialist sources for particular areas, notably transport, energy, research and development, environment, tourism and information society statistics.


The freedom to provide services and the freedom of establishment are central principles to the internal market for services and are set out in the EC Treaty. 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. The Directive was to be implemented by Member States by the end of 2009 at the latest. As well as covering most business services (with the notable exception of services of temporary work agencies), the Directive applies to a wide variety of services including industrial and construction activities, as well as distributive trades, hotels and restaurants, travel agents, real estate and renting services.

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