Business services monitor: third quarter 2007

14/12/2007 09:30

Turnover of business services again increased substantially in the third quarter. However, the differences between the various branches remain large. The sentiment among the companies remains very positive, according to the results from the Business Sentiment Survey of October 2007. Their judgements are still positive and they are optimistic in their expectations for the fourth quarter. They have been this optimistic for almost 2 years.

Strong growth turnover persists

Business services once again did good business in the third quarter. Turnover was 10 percent higher than in the same quarter in 2006. With this, the growth rate was as high as in the previous seven quarters. Growth of temp agencies levelled off a shade in the third quarter. Nevertheless, temp agencies again measured the highest growth in turnover. Legal and economic and computer services again showed high growth rates. Advertising agencies closed the third quarter with a minor decrease in turnover.

Year-on-year turnover changes

Year-on-year turnover changes

Vacancies slightly dropped

In the third quarter, the number of open vacancies in business services fell slightly after six quarters of increase. Nevertheless, at the end of the third quarter there were over 47 thousand vacant jobs. This entails an increase of nearly 2 thousand compared to the third quarter of 2006. The number of new vacancies in the third quarter is again considerable, numbering 47 thousand. Legal and economic services and architects and engineering companies are the branches with the greatest demand for new staff. Companies from these branches are responsible for almost half of all open vacancies in business services.

Number of new and filled vacancies

Number of new and filled vacancies

Positive, but slightly decreasing opinions

Results from the Business Sentiment Survey of October 2007 show that companies in the business services sector are still in a very positive frame of mind. Besides the growth in turnover, companies reported that they received more orders in the third quarter of 2007 than in the preceding quarter. Their opinion on orders received is still very positive, despite a slight decline for the second successive quarter. According to business service entrepreneurs, selling prices increased in the third quarter of 2007. The assessment of the economic climate is very positive despite a slight decrease. The sentiment among companies in this sector improved strongly and reached its peak in the course of 2007, but at the moment it is slightly decreasing.

Opinions on orders received and economic climate

Opinions on orders received and economic climate

Rise in turnover and increase of workforce expected

Companies in business services remain positive in their expectations for the fourth quarter of 2007, although slightly less expectant than in the preceding quarter. Again they anticipate increasing orders. On balance nearly 35 percent of all companies in business services expect to receive more orders. A rise in selling prices is also expected in the coming months. Therefore a further increase in turnover in the fourth quarter is foreseen by the entrepreneurs. The entrepreneurs are very optimistic with respect to the future workforce, 29 percent expect to increase staff, while only 5 percent foresee a decrease. Furthermore 41 percent of the entrepreneurs report that a lack of personnel can become an obstruction for their business activities.

Expectations for the fourth quarter of 2007

Expectations for the fourth quarter of 2007