Business performance by size
Micro businesses are more likely than other businesses to be sole proprietors and partnerships, and also include a large number of non-employing businesses. These businesses have low or nil wages, and the owner operators pay themselves out of business profits rather than receiving a wage or salary. This can have a distorting effect on wages and salaries and operating profit before tax (OPBT) when compared to other key indicators.
- Micro businesses (those with 0-4 employees) contributed 3,021,000 people (27%) of overall employment of Total selected industries in 2017-18.
- Employment also grew faster in 2017-18 for micro businesses than other businesses, driven by Administrative and support services and Accommodation and food services.
- Micro businesses also dominated growth in OPBT, contributing 42.3% ($29.0b) of the overall increase for the year ($68.5b).
- However, micro businesses accounted for only a quarter ($6.2b) of overall wages and salaries growth ($24.4b).
- Small businesses (those with 5-19 employees) contributed a 10-20% share of most key data items in 2017-18, and experienced growth in line with the overall total for most items. However, employment and OPBT shrank, which was in contrast to other sized businesses.
- Most industries contributed to the decline in employment, driven by Accommodation and food services and Administrative and support services. In contrast, the Professional, scientific and technical services and Health care and social assistance experienced positive growth.
- Mining was the main driver for the decline in OPBT, followed by Construction.
- Medium businesses (those with 20-199 employees) contributed 20-30% of Total selected industries for the majority of key data items, and 15-25% of the overall growth.
- An exception to this trend was OPBT, where medium businesses grew 2.7%, accounting for only 2.0% ($1.4b) of overall growth.
- The flat OPBT result was largely driven by Professional, scientific and technical services and Administrative and support services, which constrained OPBT growth by declining $2.5b and $905m respectively.
- Large businesses (those with 200 or more employees) contributed over 40% of the overall total for most key data items, with the exception of employment where their share was only 31.7%.
- Large businesses also accounted for close to half of the growth for most items, except for employment (23.8% of overall growth).
- Employment growth (80,000 people) was driven by Health care and social assistance (37,000 people) and Administrative and support services (31,000 people).
- OPBT growth ($38.8b) was driven by Mining ($19.1b) as well as the Professional, Scientific and Technical Services ($7.0b) and Manufacturing ($5.6b) industries.
For more information and estimates classified by business size refer to Table 5 'Business size by industry division' in the 'Australian industry by division' data cube on the Downloads tab.