According to BUSY At Work CEO Paul Miles, small and medium size businesses play an integral role in the Australian workforce.
“Approximately 83 per cent of apprenticeships and traineeships signed up through BUSY are offered by local SMEs. This is an impressive figure, considering these businesses employ workforces under 200 individuals, in fact many much smaller,” he said.
Recent data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics show there were 197,412 businesses that employed ‘5-19’ employees (small enterprise) in Australia last year. Additionally, 50,946 medium enterprises were reported, employing between 20-199 individuals. Comparatively, just 3,598 larger business (employing 200 or more workers) were operational in 2013.
Currently, SMEs in Australia are performing strongly in favourable business conditions, an April 28 survey from the National Australia Bank (NAB) revealed.
While SME confidence contracted for the first time in the last 12 months, business activity has improved – rising to the best conditions recorded since 2010. In particular, SMEs are outperforming larger firms in a number of crucial industries, including construction and finance.
The NAB survey found SME business confidence dropped by 4 points in the March quarter this year, trending at a still positive 6 point index. This decline has been attributed to the depreciation of the Australian dollar, in addition to low interest rates.
However, positivity is still high among businesses in property, construction and financial firms, which shows certain industries are in a good position to take advantage of the strong market environment.
Conditions in Australia’s business market grew by 3 points in the first quarter of this year, reaching the highest level in four years. Overall SMEs are facing a stronger environment than larger firms, which means these smaller organisations are facing the most positive potential for the future.
With such encouraging results within the SME sector, business owners are encouraged to consider their staffing options, including training and apprenticeship opportunities. As these favourable conditions are forecast to continue through the next 12 months, now could be the best time to expand and take on new staff.
Additionally, upskilling employees to adapt to new markets and customer audiences could help SMEs in Queensland take advantage of the positive business conditions and expand operations into fresh venues, industries or locations.
If your small business is ready to grow, consider hiring an apprentice or trainee. For more information, get in touch with the BUSY At Work team today.
By Leanne de Toerkenczy, Public Relations Coordinator