Australian entrepreneurs continue to drive economy by growing workforce

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

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  • 61% of Australian entrepreneurs expect to increase their workforce in 2016, more than double the proportion of large businesses expecting to do so1
  • Disruptive and innovative entrepreneurs are hiring significantly faster than the rest of those surveyed  
  • Organic growth a clear priority for entrepreneurs this year 

Australian entrepreneurs are more than twice as likely to be hiring new staff this year as large corporates, with 61% expected to grow their workforce according to the EY Global Job Creation Survey 2016.

Australia’s figures are slightly above the global average of 59%, doubling forecasts 12 months ago at 31%. Australian entrepreneurs anticipate an overall workforce growth rate of +9% over the next 12 months, in line with the global average figure of +9.3%.

The survey of nearly 2,700 entrepreneurs globally also found that disruptive entrepreneurs (who change some or all of the rules of their sector) and innovative entrepreneurs (who have created a brand new product or service in the past year) are also growing their workforces at a much faster rate than more conventional entrepreneurs.

The research is being launched as part of the 2016 EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year™ campaign. Manny Stul, Chairman and Co-CEO of Melbourne-based toy company Moose Enterprise became the first Australian to win the title of EY World Entrepreneur of the Year™ in Monaco last month.

EY Middle Market Leader Schalk Barnard said 47% of Australian entrepreneurs grew their workforce more than expected in the past 12 months – higher than the global average figure of 40%.

“Even against a backdrop of subdued economic growth, Australian entrepreneurs are growing at rates even they didn’t forecast a year ago. There is no doubt this sector is becoming more and more important to our domestic economy,” Mr Barnard said.

Mr Barnard said 48% of Australian entrepreneurs said their growth was largely organic, with 26% saying it was driven by M&A and alliances.

“Importantly, 26% of Australian entrepreneurs believe job creation is largely driven by innovation and the start-up and emerging company ecosystem,” Mr Barnard said.

Mr Barnard said the biggest challenge to securing growth over the next 12 months for Australian entrepreneurs was identifying, attracting and serving new customers, with 26% citing this as the biggest challenge.

Other key Australian findings included:

  • 72% of all hires will be in the Australian market, 28% in overseas markets; 12% of all domestic hires are expected to come from overseas
  • Young people in their first role will account for 10% of total workforce growth and 75% of Australia’s entrepreneurs describe young people as important to their growth strategy
  • 78% feel confident about the direction of their domestic economy up sharply from 51% in 2015; 73% feel confident about the global economy, again up dramatically from 37% in 2015
  • Australian entrepreneurs perceive global economic instability (22%), domestic economic instability (19%) and domestic political instability (12%) as the three biggest threats their businesses face
  • 21% of Australian entrepreneurs fall into the most ‘disruptive’ category –  higher than the 17% figure globally; in total 57% are disruptors to some degree
  • 14% of Australian entrepreneurs fall into the ‘innovator’ category – slightly higher than the 13% figure globally. 6% of Australia’s entrepreneurs identified as both ‘disruptor’ and ‘innovator’ – higher than the global average figure of 4%.


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The EY Global Job Creation Survey 2016

The EY Global Job Creation Survey 2016 was conducted online between January and March 2016 with an independent panel of global entrepreneurs in 12 key global markets, including input from 245 of the world’s most dynamic entrepreneurs – EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ participants. The results are based on the responses of 2,673 entrepreneurs in Germany, China, India, France, Brazil, Japan, Australia, Canada, the UK, the US, Sub-Saharan Africa and MENA. Opinion Matters, part of the markettiers4dc group of companies in the UK and overseas, conducted the research for EY. The research adheres to strict industry codes of conduct and ICC/ESOMAR global market research guidelines.

1 EY’s latest Capital Confidence Barometer May 2016