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Europe – Growth in service sector jobs and fixed-term contracts

08 October 2012

Almost 70% of those employed, including self-employed people, worked within the service sector in the EU last year, up from 62% in 2000. This is according to the latest EU Labour Force Survey which has found that market services, such as trade, transportation, and financial activities, accounted for 39% of such employment in 2011.

Non-market services, which include public administration, education, and health, accounted for 30%, compared to 25% for the industry and construction sector, and 5% for agriculture.

The survey found that nearly 40% of employed people worked in industry in the Czech Republic and Slovakia with countries showing varying degrees of employment by sector.

Agriculture, for example, has shown lower importance in countries such as Malta, Luxembourg, the United Kingdom, Belgium and Germany where less than 2% where employed in the sector. However, in Romania this figure was much higher at 29%, followed by Poland (13%) and Greece (12%).

For industry, the proportions varied widely from 13% in Luxembourg and 17% in the Netherlands to 38% in the Czech Republic and 37% in Slovakia.

The survey also showed that weekly working hours for full-time employees were highest in the United Kingdom (42.2 hours), Austria (41.8), Cyprus and Portugal (both 41.1). Countries recording the shortest hours included Denmark (37.7), Ireland (38.4), Italy (38.8) and the Netherlands (39.0).

Fixed-term employment in Europe has also increased within the last decade, up from 12% in 2000 to 14% in 2011, though the numbers have declined since hitting a peak of 15% in 2007. In Poland, 27% had contracts of a limited duration, followed by Spain (25%) and Portugal (22%). Of the larger economies, France had the highest proportion of fixed-term employment (15.3%), followed by Germany (14.7%), Italy (13.4%) while the UK had the lowest (6.2%). The lowest figures overall were seen in Eastern European countries such as Romania (2%), Lithuania (3%), Bulgaria and Estonia (both 4%).

Female employees (15%) had a slightly higher proportion of fixed-term contracts than men (14%) in 2011.

Out of a total workforce of 217.2 million people, the survey revealed that 18.1 million Europeans (8.3%) had full-time temporary jobs while another 7.3 million (3.4%) held part-time temporary jobs.

The latest Labour Force Survey can be downloaded here

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