Banks provide essential services.

ZIMSEC O Level Geography Notes: The role of service industries

  • A service industry is an industry which provides back-up to other sectors of the economy such as primary and secondary industries as well as to the people or labour force for them to function well.
  • They are also known as tertiary industries.
  • The development of service industries is directly proportional to the growth of the economy of a country and, at times, to the population size of that country.
  • From this it can be concluded that big economies have large tertiary sectors to service them and vice versa.
  • Examples of service industries include banking, insurance, distribution, information, education, health, office work and tourism.

The role of some of these service industries in an economy

  • An industry like ZISCO produces steel products which it sells to the market.
  • There is therefore need for transport to distribute the products.
  • Money is made by ZISCO in the process and this money has to be stored in bank, hence banking is required.
  • The company machinery and workers need to be insured against disasters, so insurance comes in.
  • The workers must have the required technical skills and so education is necessary.
  • Likewise, production is enhanced if the workers are healthy.
  • Much paperwork on raw materials, quality control, production targets, transport costs and wage bills are done in an office and so construction and office work come in.
  • Service industries are therefore developed to service primary and secondary industries as well as the population itself.
  • Other reasons are to employ people, to develop infrastructure and to create more wealth.
  • The UK has a larger economy and so has a bigger tertiary sector than Zimbabwe.
  • In Zimbabwe, whilst our tertiary industries are education, health, banking, insurance, distribution and information, there is dominance of tourism but still our scale of operation is small compared to the UK.
  • In the UK there is increasing tertiarisation or increasing dominance of services in its economy.
  • Hi-tech and information industries are dominant with office work a close second due to the nature of the British economy.
  • Certainly the London Stock Exchange and the Financial Times Stock Exchange (FTSE) are more global and therefore bigger than the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE).

To access more topics go to the O Level Geography Notes page