Quinary Sector: Characteristics, Advantages, Disadvantages, Examples

The quinary sector is the part of the economy where decisions are made at the highest level. This includes the government that passes legislation. It also comprises the main decision makers in industry, commerce and also in the education sector.

It is also one of the subdivisions of the tertiary sector, but involving professionals with special skills and highly paid, such as scientific researchers, financial and legal consultants, and government officials.

Often in this category are people appointed with high positions and powers, who make very important decisions, which are especially powerful in the world around them.

Economists sometimes also include household activities in the quinary sector, which are tasks performed in the home by a family member or a dependent.

These activities, such as babysitting or housekeeping, are generally not measured by monetary amounts, but rather because they contribute to the economy by providing free services that would otherwise have to be paid for.


The professions of people who work in this sector are generally called “gold collar” professions. This is because the services included in the sector focus on the interpretation of existing or new ideas, the evaluation of new technologies and the creation of services.

This sector includes senior executives or officials in different fields, such as government, science, universities, non-profit organizations, health care, culture, and the media. The quinary sector is born from the leadership of the quaternary sector.

It can also include the police and fire departments. These are public services rather than for-profit businesses.

Their importance in the structure of advanced economies far exceeds their number. The highest level of executives who make decisions or are responsible for policies are those who perform quinary activities.

The term quinary is used to classify industries according to the use of knowledge, thus measuring innovation policies and systems.

-Creative cities

The axis that energizes the quinary services are the so-called creative cities. This concept revolves around the impulse of innovation, the stimulation of tolerance and the training of human capital, as fundamental values.

These values ​​are the pillars for building a multicultural, dynamic and diverse society that forms a suitable environment to attract and retain creative talent.

-Technological innovations

Profusion of content

Online digital distribution does not have the restrictions that exist in physical distribution. The management and storage costs of each movie, song or book are low enough to be able to keep them in the inventory of an online store.

Digital distribution rules out geographic limitations that make it impossible for a product to be marketed, due to the dispersion of potential customers.

Accessible content

The contents are made available to anyone who is concerned and who can become a potential customer.

Custom profiles

A historical record of the purchases made by each user is kept. Thus, a personalized advice and recommendation service can be provided.

The user decides the content

The end customer has a greater capacity to dispose of the content that is distributed and created.

An example of this trend is the rapid progress of blogging, where the web has become an instrument for personal creativity.

Unpackaged contents

The contents are no longer associated with a physical object (eg DVD, CD) and the physical medium disappears.

This allows offering variants of the same content, adapted to personal preferences and tastes. Furthermore, the content may not be stored on the hard disk of the user’s portable device, but on the network itself.

Consumer generated content

This is possible thanks to the possibility for consumers to use tools that until recently were restricted to professionals only.

Advantages and disadvantages

The quinary sector takes on more and more relevance. Thanks to technological advances, decision-making becomes more important, because many of the production processes are already or will be automated.

Therefore, minimal involvement of human labor will be required. What is significant will be the decisions made with technology and information.

This sector does not generate wealth. However, if your work is done right, the system should work smoothly for people who create wealth.

For example, using expert-generated reports to decide the maximum number of fish catches allowed in the seasons ensures that the fishing industry will not run out of fish for a couple of years.

Some specialists assure that the quinary sector has an essential participation in competitiveness. This is because it is capable of correcting the deindustrialization and relocation of companies.

The quinary sector establishes a kind of cultural economy of knowledge, intangible and emotional.


One downside of this industry is the potential bad decisions that can be made by so few people or organizations. This could lead the world down a wrong and dangerous path, due to its great influence.

Examples of organizations

The quinary sector is the last economic activity, which involves the highest levels of decision making in a society or economy. Having a quasi-economic activity means that you are the maximum responsible and everything is supervised. An example of this would be the president of a country.

Contrary to the consultants who provide recommendations, the population of the quinary sectors executes the final actions. Today, it is primarily made up of CEOs, senior government officials, and heads of state.

However, in the future, if technology develops so much that even the search for information is automated and requires minimal human involvement, then the only people who can create value will be those who can make decisions.

Therefore, this sector is composed of researchers, professionals, leaders and managers with great influence and power. Some positions that are part of the quinary sector are:

– Managers of large companies.

– Government officials.

– Scientific and technological leaders.

– Directors of non-governmental organizations.


The World Trade Organization establishes the guidelines for world trade, thus reducing the decision-making margin of countries in the economic sphere.

The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) are the organizations that design the planet’s economy and environment through the credits and loans they grant to countries that request it, on the condition that they can apply the recommendations and policies dictated economics.


  1. Worldatlas (2019). What Are Primary, Secondary, Tertiary, Quaternary, And Quinary Industries? Taken from: worldatlas.com.
  2. Matt Rosenberg (2019). The 5 Sectors of the Economy. Thought Co. Taken from: thoughtco.com.
  3. Economic Activities (2018). Quinary sector. Taken from: actividadeseconomicas.org.
  4. Javier Velilla (2008). The rise of the quinary sector in Barcelona. Taken from: javiervelilla.es.
  5. Gaia Education (2019). The role of international organizations. Taken from: selba.org.

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