8126.0 - Information Technology, Australia, 2000-01  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 19/09/2002   
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September 19, 2002
Embargoed: 11:30 AM (AEST)
Significant change in the information technology and telecommunication industry

The information technology and telecommunications (IT&T) industry has undergone significant change over the two years to 2000-01, according to figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

While IT&T specialist businesses recorded strong growth in total income (24%) from 1998-99 to 2000-01, there was a substantial decrease in their operating profit before tax (-35%) between these two periods. The operating profit margin for these businesses declined from 12.2% in 1998-99 to 6.5% in 2000-01. The greatest declines were in the computer services industry grouping (from 8.1% in 1998-99 to 1.4% in 2000-01), wholesale trade industry grouping (from 4.5% to -1.4%) and telecommunication services industry (from 21.2% to 16.2%).

Between 1998-99 and 2000-01, income from the domestic production of IT&T goods and services increased by 25% (to reach $50.2 billion) while imports of IT&T goods and services increased by 28% (to reach $17.3 billion). There was a trade deficit in IT&T goods and services of $11.3 billion for 2000-01, compared with a deficit of $9.1 billion for 1998-99.

The number of IT&T specialist businesses grew by 25% or 4,487 businesses over the two years to 30 June 2001 (to reach a total of 22,475 businesses). The industries with the greatest growth were computer wholesale trade (up 50% or 775 businesses) and computer consultancy services (up 24% or 3,350 businesses).

There were 238,521 people employed in IT&T specialist businesses at 30 June 2001, an increase of 20% (39,932 people) since 30 June 1999. Employment was greatest in the computer consultancy services industry (88,222), followed by the telecommunication services industry (77,275) and the computer wholesale trade industry (38,656). More males (52%) were employed in positions whose main activity was computing and technical related compared to females (28%).

The vast majority (82%) of IT&T specialist businesses employed fewer than 4 people at 30 June 2001. These businesses accounted for only 14% of employment at 30 June 2001, 5% of total income in 2000-01 and on average operated with a profit margin of -0.9% in 2000-01. Businesses employing more than 100 people represented fewer than 1% of IT&T specialist businesses but accounted for 61% of employment and 77% of total income. On average, they operated with a profit margin of 9.6% in 2000-01.

New South Wales (44%) and Victoria (32%) had the greatest number of IT&T specialist businesses in Australia accounting for 73% of employment and 76% of wages and salaries in this industry.

Further details can be found in Information Technology, Australia, 2000-01 (cat. no. 8126.0).