Business services monitor: second quarter of 2008

10/09/2008 15:00

Business services again realized a considerably higher turnover in the second quarter. The sentiment among the companies remains positive, according to the results from the Business Sentiment Survey of July 2008. The entrepreneurs are still positive, but slightly less so since they are cautious in their expectations for the third quarter. They have been optimistic for over 2 years, but this hopeful sentiment appears to be abating.

Turnover again considerably higher

In the second quarter, enterprises in business services again achieved substantial turnover growth rates. Turnover increased by well over 8 percent compared to the same period a year earlier. This is about the same growth rate as in previous quarters. Temp agencies, security and tracing, and inspection and monitoring services realized the highest turnover growth in the second quarter. Also enterprises in computer services benefited from the continued economic growth, as a result of which the demand for IT services remained high. Advertising agencies closed the second quarter with a turnover growth rate of just 1 percent.

 Year-on-year turnover changes

Year-on-year turnover changes

Still many vacancies

It is becoming increasingly difficult to fill vacancies in business services. At the end of the second quarter, 55 thousand positions were vacant, a 5 percent increase on the same quarter of 2007. The number of vacancies in computer services increased greatly during the past year. The number of new vacancies ended up slightly lower in the second quarter when compared to the previous year. A total of 53 thousand new positions came up, 3 thousand less than a year before. This decrease occurred primarily in accountancy and economic services, and architects and engineers.

 Number of new and filled vacancies

Number of new and filled vacancies

Still positive opinions

Results from the Business Sentiment Survey of July 2008 show that companies in the business services sector are slightly less confident. According to the entrepreneurs, the increase in orders received has stopped in the second quarter. The opinion on orders received is still positive, but slightly less so than in the preceding quarter. According to the entrepreneurs, selling prices increased a little in the second quarter of 2008. The number of people employed also increased by a shade. The assessment of the entrepreneurs is that the economic climate has weakened somewhat in the second quarter. The sentiment among companies in this sector became a bit less optimistic in the first half of 2008.

Opinions on orders received and economic climate

Opinions on orders received and economic climate

Rise in workforce expected

The entrepreneurs are less optimistic in their expectations for the third quarter of 2008, when compared to the previous quarters. No increase in orders is anticipated, but a slight rise of selling prices is expected. The entrepreneurs remain optimistic about future employment, 24 percent expect an expansion of their workforce, while only 8 percent foresee a decrease. Furthermore, around 40 percent of the entrepreneurs report that a labour shortage may become an impediment for their activities.

Expectations for the third quarter of 2008

Expectations for the third quarter of 2008