Quinary Sector of Industry: Definition & Examples

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Martin Gibbs

Martin has 16 years experience in Human Resources Information Systems, has a PhD in Information Technology Management, and a degree in Information Systems Management. He is an adjunct professor of computer science and computer programming.

How many layers deep? We used to only count three levels of industry. Now, there are five? This lesson will cover the quinary (fifth level) sector of the economy, and provide examples of the types of roles that inhabit this sector.

Categorizing Business and Industry

Businesses produce all sorts of goods and services. These businesses operate in a given number of industries. An industry defines what types of production is being done and helps us classify the various businesses and services. Until recently, we only organized businesses into three main industries and labeled them primary, secondary and tertiary.

Primary industry is focused on producing raw materials such as farming, mining, or fishing. Secondary industries are focused on converting the raw materials into usable products. Businesses in the tertiary sector are focused on service delivery (bankers, solicitors, or retailers).

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  • 0:00 Categorizing Business…
  • 0:45 Business Sector Background
  • 1:46 Quinary Business Sector
  • 2:57 Lesson Summary
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Business Sector Background

These three industry labels have served economists well. However, we now realize that there are two more industry sectors in which businesses belong: quaternary and quinary. This is because of the rapid growth of service-based businesses. Around three-fourths of all employees work in the service industry. Let's use an analogy involving buckets.

Because most advanced economies are now service-based, it doesn't make sense to force everything into one bucket when we can add more buckets. Business in the quaternary sector focuses on the processing and transfer of information as knowledge. This includes computing, telecommunications, and education. The fifth sector, the quinary sector, focuses on domestic services that were once done in the home. We'll get to the details shortly. First, let's consider the chart on your screen (below) that describes the different industry sectors.

Economic sectors

This graphic shows another way to look at the quinary industry sector, where the quaternary and quinary sectors branch from tertiary:

five Economic sectors

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