Comparing employment structures
• The employment structure of a country shows how the
labour force is divided between the primary, secondary
and tertiary sectors. Different countries have different
employment structures. The employment structure of a
given country can tell you quite a lot about its economy.
• In the richest countries, for example, there will usually be
more people working in the tertiary/quaternary sector
than in the primary and secondary sectors. In the poorest
countries, there tend to be more people working in the
primary sector than in either the secondary or tertiary
• Look at the diagram below. Based on the employment
structure, which countries do you think are the richest and
In the richest country (USA), most people work
in the tertiary sector. In the poorest country
(Nepal), most people work in the primary
sector. In Brazil, the labour force is more
evenly distributed between the three sectors.
Note that the quaternary sector has been
included in the tertiary sector.
Tertiary and quaternary industry in the UK
The tertiary sector is also called the service
sector and involves the selling of services
and skills. They can also involve selling
goods and products from primary and
secondary industries. Examples of tertiary
employment include the health service,
transportation, education, entertainment,
tourism, finance, sales and retail.
The biggest area of expansion in the tertiary
sector in the UK has been in financial and
business services. According to government
statistics, 25 years ago one in ten people
worked in this industry, now it is 1 in 5.
The quaternary sector consists of those
industries providing information services,
such as computing, ICT (information and
consultancy (offering advice to
businesses) and R&D (research, particularly
in scientific fields).
The quaternary sector is sometimes
included with the tertiary sector, as they are
both service sectors. The tertiary and
quaternary sectors make up the largest part
of the UK economy, employing 76 per cent
of the workforce.
Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast
Changing employment structures
In the UK in 1,800 most people would have
been employed in the primary sector. Many
people worked on the land, and made their
living from agriculture and related products.
During the industrial revolution, more
people were needed to build ships, work in
steel making and with textiles. All of these
jobs are found in the secondary sector. By
1900 over half of the workers in the UK
were employed in secondary industries.
Since 1900 mechanisation meant that less
people were required to work on the land
and in industry, as machines could carry out
most of the work that people previously
Foreign industries also became more
competitive and imports such as coal
became more affordable. As the availability
of coal declined in the UK, and also became
more expensive to extract more coal was
imported. This led to a further decline in
primary sector employment in the UK.
The demand for work increased in
schools, hospitals and retail industries.
Many people left the rural areas in the
search for jobs in the towns and cities.
By the year 2000 over half of the UK
workforce were employed in tertiary
industries and only a small number
were employed in primary industries.
This has changed the work that people
do, and also where they work.
Quaternary industries are a relatively
new concept, and it is only recently that
they have been added to these figures.
However it is becoming an important
and growing sector in the UK as many
firms want to carry out research and
development for their products.
Line graph to show the UK employment structure from 1800 – 2000
• In 2010, 940 million people
were recorded as arriving in
a country from abroad
because of tourism. This is
worth $919 billion dollars,
making tourism one of the
world's largest industries.
(Source: World Tourism Organization
Tourism is a rapidly growing industry
and has far-reaching economic and
environmental impact across the world.
Growth in tourism measured by
• Tourism is also one of the world's fastest-growing
industries. In 2010, the Middle East and Asia had
the greatest growth of tourists. Europe still has the
greatest number of tourists - nearly 500 million in
International Tourist Arrivals (in millions)
Asia and the
Tourism market growth in 2010 (compared to 2009)
Asia and the Pacific
The tourism industry therefore is very important to economic
growth as well as the environment.
Tourism can help a country's economy and infrastructure. In
some developing countries it provides a large percentage of jobs,
as happens in the Caribbean where tourism is their main source
Tourism, a growing trend
More affluence - since 1950 people have become more wealthy. There is
more disposable income. People also now have paid time off work for holidays.
Greater awareness - through advertising or television programmes people
are more aware of how and where they can spend their free time.
More car ownership - more families own a car. This gives greater freedom
to choose when and where to spend time.
Improvements in technology - travelling today is much quicker.
Motorways and aircraft have helped reduce the time it takes to get to different
countries. Travelling by air has become more accessible as you can book on line
and choose more budget options.
More leisure time - people have paid holidays from work (on average
three weeks per year are paid). Also people who are retired remain active for
longer. There is also a trend to take more than one holiday in a year.
More choice - in the past seaside holidays and package holidays were the
most popular. The industry is seeing more people look at ecotourism and more
unusual holiday destinations.
Less Economically Developed Country
Tourism in LEDCs
• Governments in LEDCs
often see tourism as a vital
source of income, which
can be used for
development, but tourism
can create problems for
Places such as Kenya in East Africa, where
tourists go on safari, or Bali in Indonesia,
visited for its beautiful beaches, all benefit
financially from tourism. However, tourism in
LEDCs needs to be carefully managed to
prevent harm to the environment and
disruption to local communities.
• Countries rich in physical
resources - such as warm
climates, beautiful beaches,
rare ecosystems, and
abundant plant and animal life
- are often sought-after
holiday destinations by people
from MEDCs. Tour operators
and developers invest in these
locations in the hope that they
will become as popular as
Advantages to LEDCs
Foreign currency spent by tourists can be
invested in improving local education,
health and other services.
Visitors get an insight into local
Jobs for local people are
customs and traditions.
created and people can learn
new skills in tourism services.
Construction creates jobs
and develops skills for local
Local infrastructure is improved as
water and sanitation facilities,
roads, buses, taxis and airports are
provided for tourists.
Tourists see beautiful
and plants. They can
also be educated
about the dangers to
fragile ecosystems in
the modern world.
Disadvantages to LEDCs
Foreign companies may bring
foreign workers to do the skilled
jobs; so local people only do low
skilled, poorly paid work.
Pollution and disruption to wildlife
habitats could occur if tourism isn't Important projects for local
communities might be
sidelined as infrastructure
developments are focused on
House prices rise when
foreign companies and
If the aim of activities is to entertain, rather
investors buy property for than educate tourists, this may belittle the
hotels and holiday homes. local people.
Infrastructure is developed
This often makes houses too
with the needs of tourism in mind
expensive for locals.
for example: airports, toll paying
Profits go to foreign companies, such
as tour operators and hotel chains,
rather than to the local community.
Who wins with international tourism?
Tradition & cultural
Ecotourism encourages visitors to a
country to leave a small carbon
footprint, to the benefit of local
communities and environments. It
has become an increasingly popular
option for many people.
• Ecotourism is a type of
sustainable development. The
aim of ecotourism is to
reduce the impact that
tourism has on naturally
• Any tourist destination can be
harmed by increased levels of
tourism. If areas are damaged
or destroyed, they might not
be available to future
Spanish coastline – effects of unsustainable tourism
Ecotourism now has the backing of
the United Nations, which made
2002 the "International Year of
• Ensuring that tourism does
not exploit the natural
environment or local
• Consultation with local
communities on planned
• Making sure that
improvements benefit local
people and not just tourists.