Business services monitor: second quarter of 2007

12/10/2007 15:00

Business services may look back at a very successful second quarter. Turnover increased considerably again. However, turnover growth was slightly lower than in the previous quarter. The sentiment among these companies is positive and they are optimistic in their expectations for the third quarter. Optimism has now reigned for more than a year.

Again substantial turnover growth

Business service providers ran a very good second quarter. Turnover growth was almost 11 percent compared to the same quarter in 2006. Just like the previous quarter, companies providing legal, economic, computer, inspection and monitoring services contributed significantly to this growth. But just as in preceding quarters it was the temp agencies in particular that made their mark on this development. Increase in turnover of temp agencies was over 20 percent higher than in the second quarter of 2006. Advertising agencies, contrary to all other branches in business services, closed the second quarter again with a decline in turnover.

Year-on-year turnover changes

Year-on-year turnover changes

More vacancies

There was again more demand for new personnel in the business services sector during the second quarter of 2007. By the end of the second quarter there were 51 thousand new vacancies. Because companies in this sector are finding it more and more difficult to fill their vacancies, the number of unfilled vacancies goes up each quarter. By the end of the second quarter of 2007, 49 thousand vacancies were unfilled, nearly 4 thousand more than in the second quarter of 2006. The number of vacancies is particularly high in legal and economic services and at architects’ and engineering companies. Balancing the second quarter, these two branches accounted for over half of the vacancies in business services.

Number of new and filled vacancies

Number of new and filled vacancies

More orders received, more positive opinions

Results from the Business Sentiment Survey of July 2007 show that companies in the business services sector are again in a very positive frame of mind. Companies reported receiving more orders in the second quarter of 2007 than in the first. Their opinions on orders received were still very positive despite a slight decline in the second quarter. According to business services companies, selling prices increased somewhat in the second quarter of 2007. Their assessment of the economic climate can be considered very positive and the sentiment among companies in this sector improved strongly in the course of 2007.

Opinions on orders received and economic climate

Opinions on orders received and economic climate

Increased turnover and expected hiring

Companies in business services are positive in their expectations for the third quarter of 2007, although slightly less than in the preceding quarter. Again however, they anticipate increasing orders. On balance nearly 30 percent of all companies in business services expect to receive more orders. Therefore a further increase in turnover is foreseen in the third quarter. Companies in this sector expect selling prices to rise the coming months. 37 percent expect to hire more personnel, while only 7 percent foresee cuts. These optimistic prospects are reported across the board. Only companies in the advertising branch are clearly less positive about future orders and turnover development.

Expectations for the third quarter of 2007

Expectations for the third quarter of 2007