Quaternary sector of industry
The quaternary sector of the economy is a way to describe a knowledge-based part of the economy which typically includes services such as information
Information in its most restricted technical sense is a message or collection of messages that consists of an ordered sequence of symbols, or it is the meaning that can be interpreted from such a message or collection of messages. Information can be recorded or transmitted. It can be recorded as...

 generation and sharing, information technology
Information technology
Information technology is the acquisition, processing, storage and dissemination of vocal, pictorial, textual and numerical information by a microelectronics-based combination of computing and telecommunications...

, consultation, education
Education in its broadest, general sense is the means through which the aims and habits of a group of people lives on from one generation to the next. Generally, it occurs through any experience that has a formative effect on the way one thinks, feels, or acts...

, research and development
Research and development
The phrase research and development , according to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, refers to "creative work undertaken on a systematic basis in order to increase the stock of knowledge, including knowledge of man, culture and society, and the use of this stock of...

, financial planning, and other knowledge-based services. The term has been used to describe media
Mass media
Mass media refers collectively to all media technologies which are intended to reach a large audience via mass communication. Broadcast media transmit their information electronically and comprise of television, film and radio, movies, CDs, DVDs and some other gadgets like cameras or video consoles...

, culture
Culture is a term that has many different inter-related meanings. For example, in 1952, Alfred Kroeber and Clyde Kluckhohn compiled a list of 164 definitions of "culture" in Culture: A Critical Review of Concepts and Definitions...

, and government
Government refers to the legislators, administrators, and arbitrators in the administrative bureaucracy who control a state at a given time, and to the system of government by which they are organized...

. The term is a further delineation of the three-sector hypothesis
Three-sector hypothesis
The three-sector hypothesis is an economic hypothesis which divides economies into three sectors of activity: extraction of raw materials , manufacturing , and services...

 of industry
Industry refers to the production of an economic good or service within an economy.-Industrial sectors:There are four key industrial economic sectors: the primary sector, largely raw material extraction industries such as mining and farming; the secondary sector, involving refining, construction,...

 in the sense that the quaternary sector refers to a part of the third or tertiary sector along with the quinary economic sector. It has been argued that intellectual services is distinct enough to warrant a separate sector and not be considered merely as a part of the tertiary sector. This sector evolves in well developed countries and requires a highly educated workforce.

In the quaternary sector, companies invest to ensure further expansion. It is seen as a way to generate higher margins or returns on investment. Research will be directed into cutting costs, tapping into market
A market is one of many varieties of systems, institutions, procedures, social relations and infrastructures whereby parties engage in exchange. While parties may exchange goods and services by barter, most markets rely on sellers offering their goods or services in exchange for money from buyers...

s, producing innovative ideas, new production methods and methods of manufacture, amongst others. To many industries, such as the pharmaceutical industry, the sector is the most valuable because it creates future branded products
The American Marketing Association defines a brand as a "Name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller's good or service as distinct from those of other sellers."...

 from which the company will profit
Profit (accounting)
In accounting, profit can be considered to be the difference between the purchase price and the costs of bringing to market whatever it is that is accounted as an enterprise in terms of the component costs of delivered goods and/or services and any operating or other expenses.-Definition:There are...


According to some definitions, the quaternary sector includes other pure services, such as the entertainment industry.

The quaternary sector consists of those industries providing information services, such as computing
Computing is usually defined as the activity of using and improving computer hardware and software. It is the computer-specific part of information technology...

 and ICT
Information and communication technologies
Information and communications technology or information and communication technology, usually abbreviated as ICT, is often used as an extended synonym for information technology , but is usually a more general term that stresses the role of unified communications and the integration of...

 (information and communication technologies), consultancy (offering advice to businesses) and R&D (research, particularly in scientific fields).

The quaternary sector is sometimes included with the tertiary sector, as they are both service sectors. Between them, the tertiary and quaternary sectors are the largest part of the UK economy, employing 76% of the workforce.
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