8167.0 - Selected Characteristics of Australian Business, 2015-16  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 17/08/2017   
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SELECTED CHARACTERISTICS OF AUSTRALIAN BUSINESS

This is the third release from the 2015-16 Business Characteristics Survey (BCS) and presents summary data for a selection of topics including:

    - geographic markets in which businesses sold goods or services;
    - business finance sought, reasons for seeking debt or equity finance;
    - business innovation;
    - changes to business performance and activity;
    - barriers to innovative activity, skills used in undertaking core business activities, and;
    - skills shortage or deficiency in undertaking core business activities.

These statistics are in addition to the outputs from the BCS released in Summary of IT Use and Innovation in Australian Business, 2015-16 (cat. no. 8166.0) and Business Use of Information Technology Statistics, 2015-16 (cat. no. 8129.0).

Data cubes containing detailed information related to the tables, graphs and commentary below can be found via the Downloads tab.

All data relates to the 2015-16 reference period:
    • Small and/or medium businesses or organisations within Australia are the main suppliers of goods and services to 55% of Australian businesses.
    • Compared to the previous year, 35% of businesses reported that their income from the sale of goods and services had increased.
    • Lack of access to additional funds was the most commonly reported barrier to the development or introduction of new or significantly improved goods, services, processes or methods (17%).
Graph : Changes in business performance and activities compared to previous year, 2015-16




BUSINESS FINANCE

Statistics relating to the type of new or additional debt finance sought by businesses and who was approached for debt finance are presented in this release for the first time since 2004-05.
    • Fifteen percent of businesses sought debt or equity finance. Of these, 90% obtained finance.

Graph:Who was approached for debt finance, by employment size, 2015-16
    • The most common type of debt finance sought by businesses was a new loan with a term of more than one year (37%), followed by new capital/finance lease or hire purchase agreement (36%).
    • Businesses reported the main reason for seeking debt or equity finance was to maintain short term cash flow or liquidity (36%), followed by finance sought to replace other equipment or machinery (28%).





BUSINESS USE OF INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY
    In addition to results presented in Business Use of Information Technology, 2015-16 (cat. no. 8129.0), this release includes information on business use of IT by innovation status.

    Innovation-active businesses are businesses which undertook any innovative activity during the reference period including: introduction of any type of innovation; and/or the development or introduction either still in progress or abandoned.
    • Over half of innovation-active businesses reported a social media presence (53%), compared to less than a quarter of non-innovation active businesses (24%).

Graph: Key indicators for Business Use of Information Technology, by innovation status, 2015-16
    • 30% of non innovation-active businesses with 0-4 persons employed have a web presence, compared to 57% of innovation-active businesses with the same employment size.





SELECTED INDUSTRY DATA

Detailed information on all industries can be found via the Downloads tab.

Mining
    • The Mining industry had the greatest proportion of businesses reporting a decrease across a number of performance indicators in comparison to the previous year:
      - total number of jobs or positions(27%);
      - productivity of business (23%);
      - expenditure on IT (14%);
      - level of contracting out work or outsourcing (11%);
      - amount of structured/formal training for employees (9%) and;
      - social contributions (9%).
    • This industry had the greatest proportion of businesses seeking debt or equity finance (29%).
    • The Mining industry also recorded the greatest proportion of businesses with a lack of access to additional funds (27%) and a lack of customer demand for goods and services (23%) as barriers hampering general business activities or performance.
    • The highest proportion of businesses that introduced new methods of organising work responsibilities and decision making was within the Mining industry (18%).


Manufacturing
    • Barriers to the introduction of new goods, services, processes or methods were recorded by more than half of the Manufacturing industry (52%), with a quarter (25%) reporting a lack of access to additional funds as a barrier.
    • The Manufacturing industry had the highest proportion of businesses that reported a lack of skilled persons within the business (16%) and a lack of skilled persons within the labour market (16%).
    • Less than a quarter of businesses (24%) in the Manufacturing industry reported the use of any intellectual property protection methods.


Health care and social assistance
    • A total of 11% of businesses in the Healthcare and social assistance industry reported entering into a formal agreement or contract to supply goods or services to government agencies.
    • The Health care and social assistance industry had the highest proportion of businesses to receive government funding across all industries (22%). Within this industry, 12% of businesses reported receiving grants, 7% of businesses reported receiving ongoing funding, 6% received tax concessions and 4% received subsidies.
    • Businesses in the Health care and social assistance industry had the smallest proportion of businesses that relied on a small number of customers and clients (28%).

    INQUIRIES

    Further information about these and related statistics is available from the ABS website or contact the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070.