Our contribution to EU industry


Top 10 sectors account for 82% of total EU27 + UK manufacturing enterprises

Top 10 sectors: (EU27+UK) number of enterprises

There are 2.1 million enterprises in the EU27 + UK manufacturing sector. Fabricated metal products are the largest sector, accounting for 18.3% of all enterprises operating in the EU27 + UK manufacturing industry, followed by the food industry (12.7%).

10 sectors account for 82% of total EU manufacturing enterprises. There are 28,000 companies operating in the EU27 +UK chemical sector, accounting for 1.4% of the total number of enterprises in the EU manufacturing sector (see Eurostat code, V11110).

Chemicals is the fourth largest producer in EU27 + UK manufacturing

Top 10 sectors: (EU27+UK) turnover (€ billion)

10 sectors account for 73% of EU27 +UK manufacturing turnover. Automotive and food products are the two largest sectors in the EU manufacturing industry, accounting for more than one quarter of all turnover (27.2%).

With €533 billion, chemicals represent the fourth leading sector, accounting for 7.6% of EU27 +UK manufacturing turnover.

Turnover comprises the totals invoiced by the unit during the reference period. It includes all duties and taxes on the goods or services invoiced by the unit  except for VAT invoiced by the unit to its customer and other similar deductible taxes directly linked to turnover. It also includes all other charges (transport, packaging, etc.) passed on to the customer. Price reductions, rebates and discounts as well as the value of returned packing must be deducted (see Eurostat code, V12110).

Chemicals** is the leading sector accounting for 16% of added value

Top 10 sectors: (EU27+UK) added value (€ billion)

10 sectors account for 75% of EU27 +UK manufacturing added value. The chemical sector (including pharmaceuticals and rubber and plastics) is the largest sector in the EU27 +UK manufacturing industry, accounting for about 16% of added value.

Value added at factor costs is the gross income from operating activities after adjusting for operating subsidies and indirect taxes. Value adjustments (such as depreciation) are not subtracted (see Eurostat code, (V12150).

The chemicals sector contributes 12% of EU27 +UK manufacturing employment

Top 10 sectors: (EU27+UK) number of employees (in million)

There are 28.3 million people directly employed in the EU manufacturing sector (data 2015). 10 sectors account for 75% of EU27 +UK manufacturing employment. Food products and fabricated metals are the two largest sectors in the EU27 +UK manufacturing industry, accounting for a quarter of all employment (25.2%).

Chemicals (including pharmaceuticals and rubber and plastics) is the third largest sector (3.3 million people). It contributes 11.6% of EU27 +UK manufacturing employment. The sector generated an even greater number of indirect jobs – up to three times higher than through direct employment.

According to Eurostat data, employment in the EU27 +UK chemical industry (without pharmaceuticals and rubber and plastics) is particularly high in five sub-sectors – petrochemicals; paints, varnishes and similar coatings; printing ink and mastics; plastics in primary forms; perfumes and toilet preparations; soap and detergents, cleaning and polishing preparations – all sectors with a significant presence in the EU27 +UK.

Number of employees is defined as those persons who work for an employer and who have a contract of employment and receive compensation in the form of wages, salaries, fees, gratuities, piecework pay or remuneration in kind. A worker from an employment agency is an employee of that temporary employment agency and not of the unit (customer) in which they work (see Eurostat code, V16130).

Higher salaries: 50% higher in chemicals than manufacturing average

Top 10 sectors: (EU27+UK) labour costs per employee (LCE in manufacturing = 1)

Personnel costs amounted to €1,140 billion in the EU27 +UK manufacturing sector. 10 sectors account for 73.1% of EU27 +UK manufacturing personnel cost. Machinery equipment and automotive are the two largest sectors in the EU27 +UK manufacturing industry, accounting for nearly a quarter of all personnel costs (23.6%). Chemicals represent the fifth largest sector (€66 billion), accounting for 6% of EU27 +UK manufacturing personnel costs.

According to Eurostat data, the chemical sub-sectors with the highest personnel costs at the EU-aggregate level are organic basic chemicals, plastics and paints. However, the analysis indicates that some sub-sectors with very low absolute value at EU-aggregate level appear to have the highest costs per employee, such as synthetic rubber or pesticides/nitrogen.

Concerning the personnel costs per employee, chemicals represent the third leading sector. Refined petroleum, pharmaceuticals and chemicals generated the three highest costs per employee. Labour cost per employee is nearly 50% higher than the manufacturing average.

Personnel costs are defined as the total remuneration, in cash or in kind, payable by an employer to an employee (regular and temporary employees as well as home workers) in return for work done by the latter during the reference period. Personnel costs also include taxes and employee social security contributions retained by the unit as well as the employer’s compulsory and voluntary social contributions. Personnel costs are made up of wages and salaries and the employer’s social security costs (see Eurostat code, V91210).

Labour Productivity*: 77% higher in chemicals than manufacturing average

Top 10 sectors: (EU27+UK) Apparent Labour productivity (ALP in manufacturing = 1)

Chemicals represent the fourth leading sector. Apparent Labour productivity is 77% higher in chemicals than the manufacturing average.

Apparent labour productivity (gross value added per person employed) expressed in thousandsof euros. The number of persons employed is defined as the total number of persons who work in the observation unit (inclusive of working proprietors, partners working regularly in the unit and unpaid family workers), as well as persons who work outside the unit who belong to it and are paid by it (e.g. sales representatives, delivery personnel, repair and maintenance teams). It excludes manpower supplied to the unit by other enterprises, persons carrying out repair and maintenance work in the enquiry unit on behalf of other enterprises, as well as those on compulsory military service (see Eurostat code, V91110).

EU27 Labour productivity rate grows at 4.5% CCGR

Labour productivity in the EU27 chemical industry

Highly ducated and trained employees, coupled with continuously high investments in the workforce, have turned the EU chemical sector into a leading industry in terms of high labour productivity.

Between 2009 and 2019, labour productivity in the EU27 chemical industry rose at an average annual rate of 4.5%.

Chemicals is the largest investor in EU27 +UK manufacturing

Top 10 sectors: (EU27+UK) investment (€ billion)

There are 2.1 million enterprises operating in the EU27 +UK manufacturing sector. They invested about €253 billion in 2015. Chemicals (including pharmaceuticals and rubber and plastics) represent the largest investor in EU27 +UK manufacturing, accounting for 18.1% of total investment, followed by Automotive and Food.

Investment rate (intensity)1 in chemicals is far above the manufacturing average, amounting to 14% in the EU27 +UK manufacturing sector.

Gross investment in tangible goods is defined as investment during the reference period in all tangible goods. Included are new and existing tangible capital goods, whether bought from third parties or produced for own use (i.e. capitalised production of tangible capital goods), having a useful life of more than one year including non-produced tangible goods such as land. Investments in intangible and financial assets excluded (see Eurostat code, V15110).

GOS in Chemicals accounts for 11% of turnover

Top 10 sectors: (EU27+UK) gross operating surplus (% of turnover)

Regarding its gross operating profit, chemicals compare favourably to other manufacturing sectors as well. The ratio of gross operating profits to turnover is the seventh highest in industry and is well above the manufacturing average.

Gross operating surplus (GOS), or profits, is defined as value added minus personnel costs. It is the surplus generated by operating activities after the labour factor input has been compensated for. GOS in chemicals accounts for 11% of turnover (see Eurostat code V92113).

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