8155.0 - Australian Industry, 2018-19 Quality Declaration 
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 29/05/2020   
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Business performance by size

Micro businesses

Micro businesses (those with 0-4 employees) 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, operating profit before tax (OPBT) and earnings before interest tax depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) when compared to other key indicators and other business sizes.

  • In 2018-19, micro businesses contributed a share of 10-20% of most key data items, with the exception of OPBT (35.7%), employment (24.6%) and EBITDA (32.3%).

In 2018-19, compared to 2017-18:
  • Micro businesses reported increases in sales and service income, expenses and EBITDA, but falls in OPBT, wages and salaries and employment.
  • Wages and salaries declined 7.2% (down $5.2b) with the biggest fall reported by the Construction industry (down $2.0b).
  • Employment fell by 146,000 people (down 4.9%) with the largest decline shown in the Accommodation and food services industry (down 54,000 people).
  • OPBT declined 4.9% (down $8.2b), driven by Rental hiring and real estate services, which fell $16.3b.

Small businesses
  • Small businesses (those with 5-19 employees) contributed a 10-20% share to the overall total of most key data items in 2018-19 aside from EBITDA which contributed 8.9%.

In 2018-19, compared to 2017-18:
  • Large growth was seen in OPBT while employment and wages and salaries declined.
  • Employment declined by 46,000 people (down 2.4%) and wages and salaries declined 1.9% (down $1.7b), primarily driven by Retail trade, which recorded falls in employment and wages of 34.7% and 24.4% respectively.
  • However, small businesses had the largest growth rate in OPBT (35.7%, $12.5b) compared to other business sizes, driven by Mining ($4.9b) and Professional, scientific and technical services ($3.6b).

Medium businesses

In 2018-19:
  • Medium businesses (those with 20-199 employees) contributed 20-30% to the majority of key data items.
  • An exception to this trend was OPBT, where medium businesses contributed 12.5% ($56.0b) to the overall total, and EBITDA where medium businesses contributed 13.8% ($72.9b) to the overall total.

In 2018-19, compared to 2017-18:
  • Medium businesses had the smallest positive growth in OPBT (14.9%, $7.3b) compared to other business sizes, with only micro businesses doing worse as they declined 4.9%.
  • Employment saw an increase of 223,000 people from 2017-18 with the largest increase reported in Health care and social assistance (69,000 people).
  • Wages and salaries of medium businesses grew $16.4b (10.4%), with Professional, scientific and technical services ($4.5b, 19.8%) reporting the largest increase.

Large businesses
  • In 2018-19, large businesses (those with 200 or more employees) contributed over 40% to the overall total for most key data items, with the exception of employment where their share was only 33.6%.

In 2018-19, compared to 2017-18:
  • Employment grew in line with wages and salaries, each respectively increasing 8.2% and 8.7% from 2017-18.
  • The largest industry contributors to employment growth were Administrative and support services (61,000 people, 15.9%) and Professional, scientific and technical services (51,000 people, 21.7%).
  • Wages and salaries growth was also driven by Professional, scientific and technical services ($4.6b, 17.2%) and Administrative and support services ($4.1b, 17.6%).
  • Large businesses contributed the largest proportion to OPBT compared to other business sizes (41.3%).
  • Growth in OPBT ($13.8b, 8.0%) was driven by the Mining industry ($24.5b, 43.7%).
  • Many other industries reported a decline in OPBT, including Rental, hiring and real estate services, Information media and telecommunications and Health care and social assistance (reporting falls of 40.9%, 75.5% and 47.2% respectively).

Further information

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.