Business-related Service Providers Show Readiness to Invest in Training and Development


Basic and advanced training are becoming increasingly important for business-related service providers. The proportion of businesses providing training in this sector has increased from around 55 per cent in 1997 to 75 per cent in the first quarter of 2001. The widespread use of new Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) has also led to a growing need for further training to be provided in these businesses.

These are the findings of an economic survey carried out amongst business-related service providers by the Centre for European Economic Research (ZEW), Mannheim, in collaboration with the “Verband der Vereine Creditreform”, Neuss, in March and April 2001. This survey is undertaken on a quarterly basis and concerns approximately 1,000 businesses in the following sectors: tax advisers and certified public accountants, business consultants, architects, technical planners, vehicle rental companies, machine rental companies, cargo handling and logistic firms, software providers, advertising agencies and waste management firms.

The highest proportion of businesses investing in certified vocational training consists of cargo handling and logistics firms, and software service providers. These are closely followed by advertising agencies, tax advisers and certified public accountants.  The continuing stagnation in the architecture and technical planning sectors has resulted in architects investing less in training activities. Businesses also invested less in training technical planners and advisers n the first quarter of 2001 than in 2000.

Indeed, it has often been difficult for business-related service providers to find suitable applicants for their training positions. A quarter of all business-related service providers reported having difficulties filling training positions. Above all, tax advisers and certified public accountants, as well as business consultants, were affected by this problem. Software providers and marketing agencies, however, did not report any difficulties worth mentioning. In the case of software providers this is in part due to the creation of jobs associated with new technologies - software developers or software mechanics for example, which are popular amongst school-leavers. The good chances in the job market and the above-average earning potentials in these jobs are particularly attractive.

In addition to basic training, later additional training also plays a considerable role. Staff members can be taught, for example, to use new technologies. Further training is often seen as an important addition to vocational training and is provided by a large number of business-related service providers who also provide initial training. More than 40 per cent of businesses currently assume that their staff members would benefit from advanced training. In particular, tax advisers and certified public accountants, as well as software providers, provide further training following completion of initial training.

In contrast, additional training is less often provided directly after vocational training. Business-related service providers consider staff members who completed their initial training some years ago and who have already gained some work experience, to be in the greatest need of further training.

Overall, technical advisers and planners, software providers, as well as tax advisers and certified public accountants consider there to be the greatest need for further training. Other business-related service providers, however, also consider further training to be of considerable importance. The aim of further training efforts is to expand the knowledge gained by staff members in initial training, and to prepare staff members for new working environments.


Professor Dr Alexandra Spitz-Oener, Phone: +49(0)621/1235-293, E-mail: