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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 21.11, 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%).
Consultant engineering services
The ABS conducted a survey of the consultant engineering services industry for 1995-96, updating the results of a survey in respect of 1992-93. There were 5,514 businesses in the industry at 30 June 1996 (table 21.12). This represented an increase of only 1% in the three-year period from 30 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 from 30 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 in the three years from 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% on the June 1993 figure.
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%. 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 30 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, 9 government solicitors, 8 legal aid authorities and 152 community legal centres.
The 7,115 solicitor practices (table 21.13) 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 30 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 on the figure for 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 30 June 1999 there were 3,704 barrister practices, an 11% increase over the number of practices operating at 30 June 1996 (table 21.14). 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 21.15). 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% on the June 1996 figure. 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 30 June 1999, compared to 49% at 30 June 1996.
During 1998-99, private sector businesses in the real estate services industry generated $3,903m in income, an increase of 19% on the 1995-96 figure. 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%, 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 21.16.
At 30 June 1999, there were 9 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).
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 30 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 21.17).
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 21.18 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 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.