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During 1995-96 the accounting services industry generated $4,939m in total income, an average of $588,800 per business. After expenses, the industry recorded an operating profit before tax of $955m, representing an operating profit margin of 19.4%, slightly less than in 1992-93.
Income from accounting services ($4,407m) contributed 89% of total income in 1995-96. As shown in table 21.15, taxation services (36%) generated the largest proportion of income from accounting services, followed by general business and personal accounting services (30%) and auditing services (20%).
The computing services industry consists of businesses mainly involved in providing services such as data processing, information storage and retrieval, computer maintenance, computer consultancy, and other computing services. The ABS conducted a survey of the computing services industry for 1998-99, the first survey of the industry since 1995-96. In the intervening three years, the industry changed significantly, as shown in table 21.16.
In the three years since June 1996, the number of businesses in the industry increased by just over 50%, from 9,679 businesses at 30 June 1996 to 14,731 businesses at 30 June 1999. Employment in the industry increased significantly (by 35%, or 10% per annum), with employment at 30 June 1999 of 74,395 persons.
Total income of the industry in the financial year 1998-99 was $10,474m, an increase of 30% on that recorded in 1995-96. This represented an increase of 9% per annum over the three year period. The provision of computing services accounted for 87% of all income in 1998-99. Income from the provision of telecommunications services more than doubled from $148m in 1995-96 to $312m in 1998-99. In contrast, income from the sale of computer and communication hardware, parts and consumables fell significantly in the period, from $1,047m in 1995-96 to $535m in 1998-99.
The total expenditure of businesses in the computer services industry during 1998-99 was $9,654m. This resulted in an operating profit before tax of $836m, which represented an operating profit margin of 8.2%, significantly higher than the 5.7% recorded in 1995-96, but lower than the 9.5% recorded in 1992-93.
The computing services industry is concentrated in New South Wales and Victoria, which together accounted for 75% of total employment and 78% of total income in 1998-99. States' shares of both employment and income were well above their shares of the Australian population in 1998-99 (34% and 25% respectively). The average income per business in the industry was $711,000. Businesses operating in the Australian Capital Territory (average income of $853,600) and New South Wales ($813,000) had the highest average income per business. The lowest were recorded in Tasmania ($255,000) and the Northern Territory ($252,800).
Consultant engineering services
The ABS conducted a survey of the consultant engineering services industry for 1995-96, to update the results of a survey in respect of 1992-93. There were 5,514 businesses in the industry at 30 June 1996 (table 21.17). This represented an increase of only 1% in the three year period since June 1993.
The consultant engineering services industry employed a total of 30,736 persons at 30 June 1996, of which full-time employment accounted for 83% (25,384 persons). Employment in the industry at 30 June 1996 represented a 9% increase since June 1993. In addition to 30,736 employed persons, a further 8,212 persons were working on a contract or agency basis in the industry at 30 June 1996. The number of staff working on this basis more than doubled since June 1993, when there were 3,954 contract and agency staff. Overall 38,948 persons were working in the industry at 30 June 1996, an increase of 21% since June 1993.
The 5,514 businesses operating at 30 June 1996 generated total income of $3,233m and had expenses of $2,736m. The main sources of income were civil engineering ($505m), mining and geotechnical engineering services ($463m), and building/structural engineering services ($391m). The main items of expense were labour costs and payments to contractors and agency staff, which together accounted for 64% of all expenses in 1995-96.
The consultant engineering services industry recorded an operating profit before tax of $351m for the 1995-96 financial year, which represented an operating profit margin of 11.0%. This was a significant increase on the profit margin (6.7%) recorded in 1992-93.
Businesses in the consultant engineering services industry were concentrated in four States. Businesses operating in New South Wales accounted for 28% of total income, while Victoria (29%), Queensland (18%), and Western Australia (18%) were the other significant contributors.
At the end of June 1999 there were 11,026 organisations involved in the legal services industry. The large majority (98%) of these organisations were either solicitor practices (7,115 organisations) or barrister practices (3,704 organisations). The remaining organisations comprised 39 patent attorney businesses, nine government solicitors, eight legal aid authorities and 152 community legal centres.
The 7,115 solicitor practices (table 21.18) operating at 30 June 1999 represented an increase of 11% on the 6,403 practices operating at 30 June 1996. Employment within solicitor practices increased by 10% over the same period, with 67,278 persons employed at the end of June 1999. There were 25,044 qualified solicitors and barristers working in solicitor practices at 30 June 1999. Other persons working for solicitor practices were para legals (6,383 persons), articled clerks (1,894 persons) and other staff (33,957 persons). On average there were 1.7 other staff for every qualified solicitor.
During 1998-99, solicitor practices generated $6,192m in income, representing an average gross income per practice of $870,200. The main sources of income were from commercial law ($1,821m), property law ($1,152m) and personal injury law ($966m). These three fields of law accounted for 64% of solicitor practice income.
The total expenses of solicitor practices during 1998-99 were $4,252m, a 19% increase since 1995-96. Labour costs ($2,132m) accounted for 50% of total expenses. The major components of labour costs were wages and salaries paid to solicitors and barristers of $805m (representing $63,300 per employed solicitor/barrister) and wages and salaries paid to other employees of $1,153m (representing $27,300 per other employee).
After expenses, the operating profit before tax of solicitor practices during 1998-99 was $1,940m. The operating profit margin in 1998-99 was 31.4%, a small increase on the operating profit margin of 27.5% in 1995-96.
During 1998-99 solicitor practices spent 1,782,000 hours on pro bono work, made up of 826,000 hours providing legal services without expecting a fee, 835,200 hours providing legal services at a reduced fee and 120,300 hours of involvement in free community legal education and law reform work.
At the end of June 1999 there were 3,704 barrister practices, an 11% increase over the number of practices operating at the end of June 1996 (table 21.19). At 30 June 1999 there were 5,908 persons working in barrister practices. In terms of employment, all barrister practices were small businesses, with average employment per practice of 1.6 persons. There were 3,704 qualified barristers, the remainder being support staff. Males comprised 89% of barristers.
Barrister practices generated $843m in income during 1998-99, a 23% increase on the $687m generated in 1995-96.
The main sources of income for barrister practices in 1998-99 were from personal injury law ($235m), commercial law ($228m), and criminal law ($89m). Significant income was also sourced from administrative and constitutional law ($54m), family law ($43m), banking and finance law ($38m), intellectual property law ($33m) and property law ($31m).
Total expenses of barrister practices during 1998-99 were $299m. The two major expenses were chamber fees of $54m and labour costs of $49m. The operating profit before tax of these practices was $544m, which represented an operating profit margin of 64.7%. This compares with an operating profit margin of 60.5% in 1995-96.
Real estate services
The real estate services industry covers businesses mainly engaged in valuing, purchasing, selling (by auction or private treaty), managing or renting real estate on behalf of other people. The most recent survey of the industry was in respect of 1998-99.
There were 7,589 private sector businesses in the real estate services industry at 30 June 1999 (table 21.20). This represented a fall of 6% in the three year period since June 1996. At 30 June 1999 there were 52,079 persons employed in the industry, a decrease of 5% since June 1996. The industry comprised 21,276 sales staff (41% of total employment), 9,439 property managers (18%), 2,399 leasing staff (5%), 1,581 valuers (3%) and 17,384 other staff, who were mainly administrative staff. Female staff (28,167 persons) accounted for 54% of total industry employment at the end of June 1999, compared to 49% in June 1996.
During 1998-99, private sector businesses in the real estate services industry generated $3,903m in income, an increase of 19% since 1995-96. Most income (64%) was derived from property sales and leasing commissions. The other major source of income was property management commissions, which accounted for 24% of total income. After expenses, the industry had an operating profit before tax of $465m. This represented an operating profit margin of 12.0%, significantly higher than the operating profit margin (8.2%) recorded in 1995-96.
Businesses in the real estate services industry were concentrated in four States. In 1998-99, New South Wales accounted for 34% of total income, while Victoria (26%), Queensland (19%) and Western Australia (12%) were also major contributors.
In conjunction with the survey of real estate services, the ABS conducted its first survey of government valuer-general organisations, in respect of 1998-99. Results of this survey are presented in table 21.21.
At the end of June 1999, there were nine government valuer-general organisations, employing 979 persons, of which 602 worked as valuers.
The large majority (96%) of total income ($131m during 1998-99) came from property valuations, which also included government funding for this valuation activity. Of the total expenses of $126m, 42% was attributable to labour costs. Other major expenses were contract payments to private sector valuers ($23m) and corporate overhead payments ($19m).
Travel agency services
The travel agency services industry covers those businesses whose main activity is the provision of travel agency services such as transport and/or accommodation bookings and tour wholesaling or retailing. The ABS conducted a survey of this industry in respect of 1996-97, to follow up on the results of the first survey in respect of 1986-87.
As shown in table 21.22 there were 3,266 businesses involved in the travel agency services industry at 30 June 1997. These businesses comprised 2,842 retail travel agent businesses, 174 wholesalers/ticket consolidators, 170 inbound tour operators and 80 tourist bureaux.
The industry generated total income of $1,980m in 1996-97. Retail travel agency businesses accounted for $1,129m (57%), while wholesalers/ticket consolidators were the other major contributor, accounting for $483m (24%) of total income.
Total employment of the industry at 30 June 1997 was 24,451 persons, the majority (80% or 19,502 persons) employed full-time. The retail travel agents accounted for 68% (16,505 persons) of total employment in the industry.
The travel agency services industry generated an operating profit before tax of $37m in 1996-97. This represented an operating profit margin of 2.0% for the year. However, the operating profit margin varied considerably by type of travel agency business. While retail travel agents and inbound tour operators both recorded positive operating margins (8.1% and 6.5% respectively), wholesale travel agency businesses recorded a negative operating profit margin (-16.8%), from a net loss of $73m in 1996-97.
Market research services
The ABS conducted its first survey of the market research services industry in respect of 1998-99. The industry is composed of businesses mainly engaged in providing market research services, but excludes businesses mainly providing business consulting services and/or marketing services.
At the end of June 1999 there were 272 businesses in the industry, of which 224 businesses mainly provided market research consultancy services, and 48 businesses mainly provided field work services supporting other businesses in the industry (table 21.23).
At 30 June 1999 there were 10,744 persons working in the market research services industry, including 1,580 consultants, researchers and data analysts with an average salary of $60,900. In comparison, the average salary of the 9,164 other employees was $9,000, reflecting the very high incidence (75%) of casual staff.
During 1998-99 total income within the market research services industry was $456m, the key components being quantitative research ($307m) and qualitative research, which accounted for $104m. Labour costs ($203m) represented 53% of total expenses ($384m). An operating profit before tax of $72m in 1998-99 represented an operating profit margin of 15.9%.
During 1998-99 total income from market research activity was $439m (96% of total income). Table 21.24 shows that 144 businesses in the industry received income of $98m from market research in fast moving consumer goods. The other main spheres of work were other retail with 126 businesses receiving $62m, and finance and insurance services with 132 businesses receiving $56m.
In 1998-99 the market research services industry was concentrated in New South Wales, with 59% of market research businesses operating in that State and accounting for 50% of total industry employment and 53% of total industry income. The only other State with substantial market research activity was Victoria, which accounted for 31% of total industry employment and 31% of total industry income.