This preview shows page 1. Sign up to view the full content.
Unformatted text preview: ProFile 2 UNIT 3 Employment
SECTORS OF THE ECONOMY
Traditionally, economists divide the economy
into three different sectors:
Primary sector – agriculture and extraction:
meaning mining of all kinds, fishing and forestry.
Even if these activities are highly mechanized
and rely on sophisticated equipment, they are
all involved in producing primary materials,
which may then be transformed into other
Secondary sector – manufacturing and
Tertiary sector – services. Services are not
restricted to areas such as restaurants and
tourism. The service sector includes retail,
banking, insurance, transport, health, and
education. product changes hands, as is the case in tourism,
insurance, or training. By remaining in the
forefront of these industries, Britain has
managed to redress the problems caused by the
erosion of its industrial sector.
SERVICES UNDER ATTACK
Despite the large number of people employed in
services, they are no longer immune to foreign
competition and the effects of globalization. Lots
of back-office functions have been sent to
far-away countries thanks to developments in
telephony and Internet technology. In Britain,
many call centres, which appeared such a beacon
of hope for areas of high unemployment, have
closed their doors as their functions have moved
halfway across the globe.
WHAT ROLE FOR MANUFACTURING? THE DRIFT TOWARDS SERVICES
A feature of more developed Western cultures
is that there has been a move from the primary
sector and manufacturing towards services. The
more affluent and successful countries become,
the fewer people are engaged in agriculture.
The trend is towards larger and larger farms,
employing fewer people. This has led to the
devastation of the more rural parts of Europe as
young people leave their birthplace and work on
the land to go to cities. Countries which do
employ a large part of their population in
agriculture are often engaged in subsistence
farming. In Western Europe, an overwhelming
number of people are employed in the services
sector. Indeed, profits and return on investment
are generally much higher now in retail than in
manufacturing. In other words, there is more
money to be made from importing a
microwave oven from the Far East, than in the
manufacture of one at home.
This should not, however, be seen as a negative
process. For countries such as the United
Kingdom, invisible earners are an essential part of
keeping the balance of trade in a healthy surplus.
Invisible earners are businesses where no physical
See the ProFile Student’s site: www.oup.com/elt/profile With the global adoption of intermediate
technologies used in areas such as textiles and
footwear, these traditional industries have all but
disappeared in Western European countries.
They mostly survive in niche and luxury
markets. More developed countries try to
maintain a competitive lead with the development
of new and higher technologies such as IT,
aeronautics, biotechnology, and pharmaceuticals.
Globalization and foreign competition have led
to many jobs in traditional industries such as
iron, steel, and shipbuilding being lost in Western
Europe and North America. Disenfranchised
workers have had to retrain and move into new
fields. Corby, once at the heart of Britain’s steel
industry has become a hub for warehousing and
logistics and employs many ex-steel workers.
Flexibility, and the willingness to learn new skills
are essential if people wish to remain employable
throughout their working lives. Stephen R. Covey
in his The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People talks
about ‘sharpening the saw’, in other words
thinking about your own renewal and
development professionally, and personally.
Photocopiable © Oxford University Press ...
View Full Document
This note was uploaded on 12/12/2010 for the course RBS BCN taught by Professor Dekoe during the Spring '10 term at Rotterdam Business School.
- Spring '10