Strategic Business Services

Strategic business services, examined in twenty-one OECD country case studies in this book, comprise services in computer software and information processing, research and development and technical testing, marketing, business organisation (management consultancy and labour recruitment) and human resource development. This sector has been growing at around 10% per year, and overall turnover for 1999 is likely to be close to USD 1.5 trillion. These services create jobs in OECD countries, directly employing at least 11 million persons. Business organisation services were the major employer, with 3.6 million people in personnel recruitment services and 1.5 million in management consultancy in the mid-1990s.

This sector’s strong performance is driven by the general shift towards services, the rise of the knowledge-based economy, the need for greater flexibility within firms, specialisation and increased division of labour in many areas, outsourcing by established firms, and the trend towards smaller production units and firms.

Governments influence the demand for business services by promoting private sector investment in intangibles such as R&D, training and education and business organisation, and by supporting the supply of these services through a range of intermediary agencies. The provision of strategic business services is seen as key to improving the performance and competitiveness of small and medium-sized firms.

Countries covered Australia Austria Canada Denmark Finland France Germany Ireland Italy Japan Mexico Netherlands Norway New Zealand Portugal Spain Sweden Switzerland Turkey United Kingdom United States

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