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European Corporate Headquarters

European Corporate Headquarters

The role of outsourcing is generally on the decline, but not in all areas. In certain functions unrelated to the core business, companies are outsourcing much more than they were three years ago. Greater use is being made of shared services for internal functions like IT or accounting.

There is a clear correlation between the overall size of a corporate group and the management approach, on the one hand, and the sizing of its headquarters, on the other: the bigger a company and more strongly it directs its business units, the bigger the relative size of the HQ. In Germany, the proportion of employees working at the headquarters has almost returned to the average level recorded back in 2002 (2008: 2.8%, 2005: 2.3%, 2002: 3.0%). And corporate headquarters are becoming more confident about their leadership role: Most HQ staff see themselves as “managers” rather than pure “service providers”.

European companies again value their headquarters very highly. In contrast to 2005, this time we’ve found a trend back towards centralization of decision-making and services in the management of companies. Outsourcing of services has generally declined across the board. But in a few areas that aren’t part of the executive functions we discovered an even more determined push to outsource work.