Do SMEs create more and better jobs?

The European Commission published today a study analyzing the important role small and medium sized enterprises play in creating more and better jobs. SMEs provide a vital contribution to the European economy, being responsible for more than two thirds of the total employment in the private sectors and 85% of the net job growth.

Given their importance in the European economy, they are also essential for the economic recovery and for reducing the negative employment effects of the crisis. A post-crisis informed and effective policy making process requires and should be based on an expert analysis of how the recent crisis has affected the creation of new jobs in SMEs, as well as the quality of existing ones. In response to these information needs, the study provides statistical evidence and analysis of:

  • the quantity of jobs SMEs deliver, and how it has changed over time, with a focus on the recent crisis.

  • the quality of jobs SMEs deliver, with a view to shed light on the nexus between the creation of jobs in Europe’s SMEs and the simultaneous improvement of the competitiveness of the EU SME sector.

More highlighted findings and detailed figures

SMEs’ contribution to more jobs by Member State

In 2010, there were 20.8 million enterprises in the non-financial business economy1, providing employment for 87 million people in the European Union. Between 2002 and 2010, the SMEs had a much higher employment growth rate (1% annually) than the large enterprises (0.5%).

On average, the annual employment growth rate of SMEs was also higher than the growth rate of the total EU population (about 0.4% annually over 2002/2010) and the corresponding growth rate of the total EU active population (0.8% for the same period).

24 out of 27 Member States have had positive employment growth over 2002/2010. In most of these countries, job creation by the SME-sector has been more than proportionate to its share in employment.

For more information: EuroStat


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