Press Release 24/10/2018


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The turnover of the Professional and Business Services sector in the Basque Country grew by 8.5% in 2018

The sector employed 123 thousand people, 3.9% more than in the previous year

The Professional and Business sector had a turnover of 9,187 million euros in 2016, which was 8.5% up on the previous year, according to Eustat data. This sector encompasses professional, scientific and technical activities and administrative and auxiliary service activities

Employment itself increased by 3.9%, employing a total of 123,042 people in 2016, which constituted 11.9% of total employment in the Basque economy this year. In the same period, the number of establishments hardly changed, increasing by 0.5% to 28,436.


Within Professional Services and Auxiliary Services, the Professional, Scientific and Technical Activities division - which in itself encompasses the subsectors of Accounting and Legal Activities, Architectural and Engineering Services, Research and Development, Advertising and Market Research and Other Professional Activities - was the leading division in terms of the number of establishments, representing 78.9% of the total, and in terms of turnover, 66.5%, although it did not cover half of total employment, standing at 48.6%.

This division improved not only its turnover in 2016, which was up by 9%, but also its employment, which increased by 3.6%, with practically the same number of establishments (0.6%). Among the changes in the last five-year period, particularly noteworthy was the growth in turnover in the last year: between 2012 and 2016 turnover increased by 10.4%, whereas in the last year alone it increased by 9%. The five-year period ended with 2.9% more employment and 5.7% more establishments.

In an analysis of results at a more disaggregated activity level, and within the Professional, Scientific and Technical Activity Division, the branches that stood out were Accounting and Legal Activities and Architectural and Engineering Services. With similar turnover figures, of 2,632 million euros and 2,248 million euros respectively, together they represented almost 80% of the turnover figure in this division, whilst accounting for 75.6% of total establishments and 70.1% of employment. Compared to the previous year, 2015, both branches grew both in terms of their turnover - Architectural and Engineering Services saw an increase of 12.1% and Accounting and Legal Activities an increase of 6.8% - and their employment - 3.4% higher for Accounting and Legal Activities and a rise of 3% for Architectural and Engineering Services. However, whilst the number of establishments dedicated to Accounting and Legal Activities hardly changed (0.3%), the number of Architectural and Engineering Services establishments fell by 1.3%.

Two of the three remaining branches saw positive changes in their turnover, with Research and Development experiencing an increase of 15.4% and Other Professional Activities up by 10.7%, whilst Advertising and Market Research's turnover fell by 1%. However, all three experienced increases in employment and number of establishments. Other Professional Activities (which includes, among others, Design, Photography, Translation, Interpreting and Veterinary Activities) saw a 5% increase in terms of employment and a 3.1% increase in its number of establishments. Research and Development saw a 9.3% increase in establishments and a 4.7% increase in employment, and the Advertising and Market Research branch experienced a 2.6% and 3.2% increase in the number of establishments and staff employed, respectively.

The Administrative Activities and Auxiliary Services division also saw a significant increase in its turnover in 2016, of 7.5%, and in its employment, up 4.3%, accompanied by a slight decline in its total number of establishments (-0.2%). This moderate downturn in establishments in 2016 represents a stabilisation of the drop that occurred between 2012 and 2016, when their number fell by 9.9%. Both employment and turnover underwent similar changes in the same period. There was a 7.4% increase in employment and a 7.2% increase in turnover.

This division represents 33.5% of the total turnover in Professional Activities and Auxiliary Services and 51.4% of its employment, comprising 21.1% of the total establishments.


Within this subsector, the Other Services Activities branch (Security and Research Activities, Gardening and Building Services and Auxiliary Business Services), stood out for its overall contribution to the total; it represented three quarters of employment and establishments (76.9% and 73.4% respectively). The changes it underwent in 2016 were positive with regards to staff employed, which increased by 3.4%, and in terms of turnover, up 6.8%, representing 55.9% of the division’s turnover. With regards to the number of establishments, it remained unchanged (0%), putting an end to a five-year period of continuous drops, resulting in 8.2% fewer establishments compared to 2012.

Outside of Other Services Activities, other branches with increases in turnover were Travel Agencies (with an 11% increase), and, particularly, Employment-Related Activities (17.2%); both also experienced the same upturn in employment (8.8%) and saw an rise in their number of establishments compared to the previous year (increases of 1.4% for the former and 2.1% for the latter).

Details of establishment size according to employment did not provide any additional information. Firstly, microenterprises, that is, establishments with fewer than 10 employees, represented 94.4% of the total establishments, employed 35.5% of all staff and generated 42.9% of the sector’s turnover. Small businesses, with 10 to 49 employees, represented 4.4% of establishments, provided employment for 20.8% of the sector, employed 35.5% of total staff and generated 42.9% of the sector’s turnover. Finally, companies with over 50 employees generated 29.1% of the total turnover, provided 43.8% of employment and represented 1.2% of establishments.


At provincial level, the three provinces registered positive changes in the main indicators analysed. The greatest differences registered were in turnover. The most favourable position was occupied by Bizkaia, whose sales provided an increase of 10.4% for the sector as a whole, followed by Gipuzkoa (6.5%), and Álava, (3.7%). The changes in employment in the three provinces were very similar: Bizkaia and Gipuzkoa registered the same change, with a 3.8% increase in employment, whilst in Álava it increased by 4.7%. Lastly, in terms of the number of establishments, changes were negligible for Gipuzkoa and Álava, with an increase of 0.8% in both territories, and more negligible still in Bizkaia, up 0.2%.


For further information:

Eustat - Euskal Estatistika Erakundea / Basque Statistics Institute C/ Donostia-San Sebastián, 1 01010 Vitoria-Gasteiz Press Service: Tel: 945 01 75 62

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The turnover of the Professional and Business Services sector in the Basque Country grew by 8.5% in 2018

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