International Sourcing (Pilot Survey 2018)


In 2017, Eurostat (the European Commission) initiated a third European pilot survey on the issue of International Sourcing. Under co-financing from the European Commission, 17 countries, whereof 16 EU Member States, took part in the pilot survey; Austria participated for the first time. In the former waves, 12 (survey 2007) and 15 (survey 2012) countries, respectively, had taken part.

In the current edition, Member States were free to collect data on the period 2014-2016 or 2015-2017, Statistics Austria went for the second option. The survey was conducted as a non-obligatory survey during calendar year 2018.

Statistics Austria contacted all Austrian enterprises with at least 50 persons employed in NACE sections B-J and L-N (excluding NACE K – Financial and insurance activities). According to the proposals by Eurostat, questions concerned the general setting of the enterprise (its position within an enterprise group, domestic activities incl. business functions), domestic and international sourcing activities, employment effects, motivations and barriers for international sourcing, and possible relocations of business functions to the home country. As a national extension, enterprises were not only asked on their sourcing activities from 2015–2017, but also whether they did sourcing, domestic or international, in the period before.

Data was collected by using an online questionnaire only. Due to the response rate (24% over-all, but varying from sub-group to sub-group) not all collected data were able to be grossed-up to figures for the whole survey population.


21.7% of the enterprises stated to have sourced business functions in the period 2015-2017. Twice as much enterprises sourced domestic (17.1%) than internationally (8.4%).

Almost half of international sourcing took place in manufacturing (NACE C), whereas domestic sourcing was slightly dominated by the service branches (NACE G-J, L-M).

Outsourcing by geographical orientation, percentage of all enterprises
 2015-20172017 and before, in total
No sourcing78.3%73.2%
Sourcing in total21.7%26.8%
Domestic sourcing17.1%21.6%
International sourcing8.4%11.4%
Distribution of outsourcing activities by economic activity (NACE), 2015-2017
 Outsourcing totalDomestic sourcingInternational sourcing
Mining and Quarrying; Energy; Water Supply, Waste Management (NACE B, D, E)16.6%20.0%0.0%
Manufacturing (NACE C)28.3%24.3%48.2%
Construction (NACE F)23.9%25.4%20.4%
Services (NACE G-J,L-M)31.3%30.4%31.4%
Total population100%100%100%

Domestically (75% share) as well as internationally (share of 65%), mainly support functions got sourced. Main support functions sourced were administrative and management functions, followed by ICT services. Core business functions were rather sourced abroad than domestically.

The main destination for outsourcing was Germany, followed by Poland and the Czech Republic; main sourcing region were the new Member States (NMS-13) where almost half of international sourcing took place in the period 2015-2017.

As mentioned above, data are based on a voluntary survey. In addition, concepts, definitions and operational rules for the International Sourcing Survey are still under development. Thus survey results should be interpreted and used with care.

More information

For more detailed information on the Austrian data please consult our German language website.

For more information on international data please consult the Eurostat website on international sourcing.

Thomas Seidl Tel. +43 1 71128-7821

Erich Greul Tel. +43 1 71128-7308

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