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  Step 9: What Industry Are You In?

Industries, which have a powerful impact on the economy of a country, operate purely on the basis of their primary category. The category of an industry determines the line of business for the industry and also how the industry is going to operate. An industry will choose its resources, such as personnel, machines, offices and policies, purely based on its category. Every category of industry will have its own principles of operating and an industry must stick to the basic principles in order to survive and thrive.

Types of Industries

Primary Sector Industries: The primary sector provides raw materials for the manufacturing of goods. Industries in the primary sector primarily use natural resources to provide materials for finished products. For example, the agriculture sector provides wheat for the manufacturing of wheat-based food products. The industries that are included in the primary sector include agriculture, mining, subsistence farming and forestry, quarrying and fishing.

Secondary Sector Industries: The secondary sector produces and supplies finished goods for the economy. The secondary sector comprises both heavy and medium-sized industries. The heavy industries are primarily the ones that supply finished products for both the services and the other industries in the economy. For example, the manufacturing industries can provide finished products like metals for other heavy industries like automobiles. The industries that come under the purview of the secondary sector are manufacturing, construction and processing.

Tertiary Sector Industries: While the primary and secondary sectors are primarily engaged in delivering goods that are tangible and measurable, the tertiary sector provides services that are intangible. The tertiary sector provides services for the economy and is also known as the services sector. The industries that are involved in this sector are entertainment, music, movies, health, eateries, media, transportation and tourism.

Quaternary Sector: The quaternary sector is also known as the information sector. This sector primarily manages information and intellectual activities. The primary activities of this sector are to disseminate information, manage information to plan activities in a business organization, plan the business process of a business enterprise, planning the business activities of a country and so on. The industries that are primarily engaged in this sector are information technology, education, management and business process outsourcing.

Presence of Sectors in Different Countries

Primary Sector Industries: The primary sector has a conspicuous presence in developing and underdeveloped countries and a thinner presence in developed countries. The main reason is that unlike developed countries, which have over the decades gradually changed from their dependence on agriculture and farming, developing and underdeveloped countries still rely a lot on the primary sector. A substantial portion of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in these countries is contributed by the primary sector.

Secondary Sector Industries: The secondary sector has a more conspicuous presence in developed countries. A substantial percentage of the population is engaged in the secondary sector, which happens to be their source of livelihood. In fact, some countries are known for a specific type of secondary sector industries. For example, Germany is known for its automobile industry.

Tertiary Sector Industries: The tertiary sector industries have a conspicuous presence in the developed countries. The bigger part of the population in these countries is engaged in the services industries and this sector obviously generates a large chunk of the Gross Domestic product (GDP) for the particular country. However, in the recent years, many developing countries have really been catching up.

Quaternary Sector Industries: The quaternary sector, which was traditionally the fiefdom of the developed countries once, has seen the emergence of the developing countries like India, China, Singapore, and Brazil as serious players. These countries have emerged as important hubs for information technology and the business process outsourcing industries as a lot of work has begun to be outsourced from the developed world.

Personnel Profile in the sectors

The personnel profile in these industries obviously has varied depending on the type of industry.

The primary sector has a lot of unskilled people that are engaged in producing the goods. This sector mainly needs farmers, agriculturists and so on. The secondary sector needs a lot of skilled people in specific niche areas. The same goes for the tertiary and quaternary sectors.

How have sectors changed in the last one decade?

The contribution of these sectors to the economy of a country has undergone a few changes in the last few decades. The most notable change has been the emergence of the tertiary and quaternary sectors all over the world, especially in the developed countries like India and China. These countries were at one point in time primarily dependant on agriculture. The emergence of the knowledge economy, information technology and the business process outsourcing sectors has employed a notable part of the population to these sectors. As a result, the contribution pattern of the sectors to the national output has changed too.

The secondary sector has also grown and the automobile industry deserves a special mention. This industry has grown, primarily because of growing sales because of the increasing prosperity in the urban regions of a country. The emergence of the banking sector has also been an important factor. Many countries have de-regulated the banking and finance sector and this has given entry to the private and foreign players. As a result, people in the urban areas have more liquidity because of the loans and financing provided.

However, the primary and the secondary sectors remain the two sectors whose basic activities are likely to remain unchanged over a period of time. Both of these sectors, one must note, provide critical products to the economy without which the economy might not be able to sustain. While the other sectors are important and will continue to grow exponentially in the future, the primary and secondary sectors will continue to meet the basic needs of the economy. The main difference between the primary and secondary sectors and the other sectors is that while the activities of the former two remain unchanged, the same for the latter sectors will experience changes.