Despite concerns about customer growth, Australian SMEs will increase salaries and hire more people in 2015

18 Mar 2015

  • Generation Y business owners most confident about economy
  • Increased competition putting pressure on the nation’s SMEs

Almost a quarter of Australian SMEs intend to give employees a pay rise in 2015, despite concerns on how they will attract more customers, according to the latest MYOB Business Monitor.

Now in its sixth year, the bi-annual national survey of more than 1000 small to medium business owners found that 23 per cent of business owners expect to increase wages in the next 12 months.  Businesses in NSW are most likely to increase salaries with a quarter of those surveyed planning to pay more, despite the backdrop of political uncertainty and a softening of consumer and business confidence. 

That uncertainty is not impacting everyone, with 12 per cent of Australian SMEs looking to expand their full-time staff base and a further 17 per cent intending to hire more part-time or casual employees in the coming year.  Businesses in the ACT are most likely (47 per cent) to take on more full-time staff, while those in NSW had the highest expectations (21 per cent) of expanding their part-time or casual workforce.

MYOB CEO, Tim Reed, said that the latest Business Monitor results are encouraging considering the challenging circumstances Australian businesses have been facing in recent months.

“The planned salary increases and the intention to grow staff numbers demonstrates the resilience of the nation’s SMEs. Their optimism to work through uncertainty and plans for future growth is encouraging and reflects the spirit and determination of small and medium businesses in Australia,” said Tim Reed. “Also of note is the optimism of younger business owners, who anticipate the economy to improve within a year.  This is in contrast to the overall results where more than half of the businesses surveyed expect an economic upswing to take more than twelve months to kick in.” 

When it comes to attracting new customers, 32 per cent said that is quite likely or extremely likely to put pressure on their businesses over the next 12 months, while a further 35 per cent report that it is likely to cause some pressure.

Generation Y most confident about the economy and business growth

When questioned about the future of the Australian economy, 60 per cent of SMEs expect it will take more than a year for things to improve, while 41 per cent of Generation Y business owners anticipate a positive change within the next 12 months.

Generation Y business owners are also the most optimistic about their future earnings with 37 per cent expecting increased revenues in the year ahead, and 45 per cent reporting more work or sales in the pipeline compared to a national average of 36 per cent.

Fuel concerns ease, competition and cash flow are SME pain points

The drop in global fuel prices has contributed to fuel price no longer being the primary concern for Australian SMEs with just 24 per cent reporting this as the biggest burden compared to 33 per cent in the September 2014 survey.

In addition to attracting new customers, the other key concerns in 2015 are:

  • Competitor activity – 34 per cent
  • Meeting tax obligations – 31 per cent
  • Cash flow – 30 per cent
  • Price margins and profitability – 28 per cent
  • Retaining customers – 25 per cent

“The latest Business Monitor results show that concerns around competitors, cash flow and price margins continue to keep SMEs up at night,” said Tim Reed. 

“To address these concerns it’s more important than ever for small and medium business owners to put in place robust business systems that provide them with clear visibility on how their business is performing.  It’s also critical for business owners to ensure timely payment of accounts so they have the funds to invest back in the company.

“As in previous years, the Business Monitor continues to provide us with vital data on how this important segment of our economy is feeling about the year ahead,” said Tim Reed 


For further comment or other information please contact:

Sarah Beyrath, MYOB PR and Corporate Affairs Manager

P: 02 9089 9043 / M: +61 427 223 841 / E:

Louise Halloran, Ogilvy PR

P: 02 8437 5397 / M: +61 407 044 727 / E:

About MYOB

Established in 1991, MYOB is Australia’s leading accounting software provider. It makes life easier for approx. 1.2 million businesses across Australia and New Zealand by simplifying accounting, payroll, tax, CRM, websites, job costing, practice management, inventory, mobile payments and more. MYOB also provides ongoing client support via many channels including a network of over 40,000 accountants, bookkeepers and other consultants. It is committed to ongoing innovation, particularly in cloud computing solutions, and spends more than AU$35 million annually on research and development. For more information, visit

About the MYOB Business Monitor

After six years of conducting the MYOB Small Business Survey we've enhanced it to better reflect the profile of Australian businesses. We've now incorporated medium businesses, along with the sole traders and small businesses that were already part of the survey. We're pleased to present the new look MYOB Business Monitor.

The MYOB Business Monitor is a national survey of over 1000 Australia's business owners (and directors) conducted twice a year by Colmar Brunton.Word paste media release article here