An overall look at Veneto businesses shows that restructuring is taking place with an emphasis on services: from 2000 to 2007 (Note 1)
the share of wealth produced by this sector grew by 1.8%, reaching 62.6%, which is still below the national figure (70.5%) This process demonstrates that the mainly industrial Veneto is also following the trend of the main economies, which have an a value added share in services of over 70%; the United Kingdom, in particular, had a value added of 76.3% in the tertiary sector, compared with 23.1% value added in industry. In Veneto, the share of wealth produced by industry was 34.9% in 2007; though still high it has fallen in the last few years. (Figure 3.2.1)
Many reasons lie behind this phenomenon and are the cause of a range of trends in the numerous compartments that make up the tertiary sector. On one hand, new consumer models, lifestyles and demographic changes tend to determine an increase in demand for services by families and individuals. On the other, technical progress, organisational changes and the growing international integration of businesses lead to the development of new compartments and growth in demand for services by business.
All of this is confirmed by the distribution of the number of businesses in industry and services over the years. Agriculture is excluded from this analysis. Comparing the figures from the Censimento dell'Industria e dei Servizi (Industry and Services Census) in 1981 to those of the latest census in 2001, there has been a fall in the industry sector in favour of the tertiary sector. (Figure 3.2.2)
Figures for businesses in the 1971 census suggest that the phenomenon has gone completely into reverse, but we should remember that at that time the few industries that existed were large ones. Services, however, were mainly provided by small commercial businesses that have all but disappeared today. Early 1970s' industry was governed by the concept of the Ford factory in which processes were established and scheduled over time, and products standardised. It was only later that the concept of business became more fragmented and, in Veneto in particular, employees used the skills they had learned in the factories to set up their own businesses. As time went by the need arose to develop the quality of the economy by focusing on the tertiary sector and on business and personal services in particular. This led to an increase in the importance of employees over machines, and therefore in the intangible qualities provided by creativity, supplier-customer relations, flexibility, plus relations and workplace management, skills that could no longer be reduced to mere engineering procedures. Products acquired value not simply because of what they were but because of their innate significance, an intangible value created by the flair of individual people. Over the last 20 years, the organisational flexibility of business created by clusters has moved on to become employee flexibility. The crisis of Fordism led to the introduction of networks in the shape of external supply chains, partnerships and alliances which, in turn, led to a reduction in industry in its strictest sense. (Figure 3.2.3)
Business reorganisation, which is due mainly to a need to stay competitive in the global market, is geared towards improving and strengthening a business's internal structure. Over the last few years, this has led to the cessation of small enterprises (sole traders) and to a consistent rise in the number of corporations.
There has also been widespread change at sub-sector level. The manufacturing sector has had to adapt in that it needs to contain its production costs and raise its product quality and consequently its technology content (Note 2) (Figure 3.2.4)
Veneto is home to 9.3% of Italy's high-tech industry, ranking third after Lombardia (22%) and Lazio (9.6%), so at first glance it would seem a hub of high-tech excellence. However, 53% of Veneto's production industry was still low-tech in 2008. Long-term analysis points to some of the region's peculiarities: there has been a drop in the number of both low-tech and high-tech businesses, which probably find it more profitable to relocate to other parts of the world, mainly to cut costs and secondly to take advantage of more developed technology. It is becoming clear that Veneto's manufacturing industry has developed thanks to mid-range products, but ones that are highly specialised and require high-level techniques rather than high technology.
Higher level skills struggle to emerge, also in the tertiary sector, but they do exist. The tertiary sector, which has been reclassified on the basis of different knowledge levels, highlights the prevalence of traditional services, which account for 61.5% of the entire sector, as well as the dynamic nature of services with a high knowledge content. From 2000 to 2008 businesses dealing with market services, namely business consultancy, transport and real estate, grew by 65.8%, and high-tech services, i.e. telecommunications, Information Technology, plus R&D, increased by 35.2%. (Figure 3.2.5)