Corporate services have been the largest sector of the Dutch economy since the mid-nineties. In 2002 one in five companies in the Netherlands were active in this field.
From a goods to a knowledge-based economy
In the nineties corporate services began to gain ground quickly: the contribution of the sector to the gross domestic product (GDP) rose from 15 percent in 1990 to 20 percent in 2002. The GDP share of government fell from 12.9 percent to 11.7 percent in the same period, the share of health care and welfare rose from 7 to 8.3 percent and that of manufacturing fell from 19 to 14.5 percent.
Value added by sector of industry
Knowledge made to measure
Corporate services are mostly performed by small companies. They sell custom-made knowledge-intensive services to other companies. The sector is made up of a very diverse group of companies; for example notaries, engineers, solicitors, accountants, IT specialists, photographers and designers. But less complicated services such as cleaning and security also belong to this sector of industry.
Temp agencies grew most in the nineties
The greatest growth in business services was in the nineties. Three branches within corporate services account for two-thirds of the total growth in this period: agencies for temporary personnel showed the largest growth, followed by the IT sector and estate agents.
GDP shares of corporate services, 1990-1999
Legal and economic services still growing
The growth in corporate services has been stagnating since 2000.
Within the sector, however, some branches are still growing and claiming more GDP, while others are declining.
Estate agents and temp agencies - the fastest growers in the nineties - architects and engineering offices are now decreasing. Together they lost nearly 0.6 percent of their share in GDP. Legal and economic services are growing. The positive development in this latter sector is the reason that the share of corporate services in GDP remains the same.
GDP shares of corporate services, 1999-2002