EMCC European Monitoring Centre on Change

The knowledge-intensive business services sector - what future?

Sector Futures provides specialised reports based on the monitoring of existing foresight studies, scenario work, innovation studies and reliable data sources. The second article in the Sector Futures series on the knowledge-intensive business sector explores, in greater depth, the reasons for the sector’s growth and draws up three alternative scenarios for its future development. The third and last article in this series goes on to review a range of policy issues that are raised by the three scenarios and outlines major policy responses to these issues.

Knowledge-intensive business services, or KIBS for short, represent one of the fastest growing areas of the European economy. These services play an increasingly important role in the performance of client sectors and are often considered to be one of the hallmarks of the knowledge-based economy.

From defining trends and drivers…

The first of three articles in this series, Knowledge-intensive business services - what future?, sets out by defining KIBS and distinguishes them from other types of services and knowledge-intensive activities. The article then goes on to explore knowledge-intensive business services in the European Union (EU), highlighting key similarities and differences in their development across Member States. The feature also examines the forces driving the sector’s growth, addressing issues such as outsourcing, the internationalisation of services, and the growth in demand for certain knowledge types.

…towards visions for the future

The second article, Knowledge-intensive business services: Trends and scenarios, builds on the first article’s discussion on the rise of the knowledge-intensive business services (KIBS) sector, the reasons for its growth and the nature of the contemporary landscape of KIBS. It reviews a limited number of earlier studies that have attempted to identify drivers of quantitative and qualitative change in KIBS, and explores three alternative scenarios for the future development of the sector in coming years.

Policy implications

The third and last article in this series, Knowledge-intensive business services - policies, issues and the future, reviews a range of policy issues that are raised by the three scenarios in relation to the future development of KIBS. As well as outlining major policy responses to these issues, it examines their rationale and the challenges these responses are liable to confront. In particular, the article calls for more explicit consideration of KIBS in innovation policy and in other policy areas.

All three articles are available for downloading free of charge as one pdf file: Sector Futures - The knowledge-intensive business services sector (pdf1 Mb).
Useful? Interesting? Tell us what you think. Hide comments

Eurofound welcomes feedback and updates on this regulation

Add new comment