According to the latest Sensis Business Index (SBI) survey, small and medium business confidence in Australia is at a five year high, rising by nine points over the past quarter. Interestingly though, not all economic indicators are aligned to this rise in confidence.
“While sales and employment improved and prices remain positive, wages and profitability went backwards this quarter. These are not the results you would expect to see when confidence has lifted to a five year high,” observed Sensis Chief Executive Officer, John Allan.
“Rather than being driven by these indicators, confidence is instead being driven by perceptions that the overall economic environment is improving. On top of this, the non-cyclical influences remain strong, with businesses continuing to feel particularly positive about their own specific business strengths.”
It is, perhaps, a post-election boost.
At the state level there were confidence gains everywhere except for Tasmania and the Northern Territory. New South Wales extended its lead, while Western Australia is now the least confident state. South Australia is finally off the bottom, following a 24 point rise in confidence.
“The eastern seaboard states are now the shining lights for business confidence nationally. As you head across the continent, however, confidence deteriorates, with businesses in the Northern Territory and Western Australia the least confident in the nation, followed by South Australia” said Mr Allan.
Sounding a note of future caution, though, a national survey of 1,000 Australian workers, including full and part-time workers and the self-employed, has concluded that nearly half of Australia’s workforce is likely to be looking for a new job in the next 12 months.
The Snapshot of Australian Workplaces, commissioned by Reventure Ltd, identified job satisfaction, technology, productivity, and general health/life as the most significant issues confronting Australian workplaces – and they are issues that many businesses are struggling to deal with.
“Workplaces which are engaging with these challenges have happier, healthier and more engaged staff with higher levels of commitment and productivity – unfortunately the majority which are not engaged are in a vicious cycle impacting on stability, commitment and productivity,” said Reventure’s lead researcher, Dr Lindsay McMillan.
“The result is that 49% of those surveyed say they will be definitely or probably looking for a new job in the coming year.”