Department of Family and Community Services

3.4 Business owners

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Current position

In NSW in 2011, women made up 29 percent of owner managers of incorporated enterprises (all sizes), and 34 percent of owner managers of unincorporated enterprises (all sizes).

Gender gap

  • Women are around 2 to 2.5 times less likely than men to own and run their own business.
The direction of
change over time

Incorporated enterprises

There was a slight decrease between 2006 and 2011 in the proportion of owners of incorporated enterprises who were women. The proportion dropped from 30 to 29 percent for businesses with 1-19 employees, and from 29 to 27 percent for enterprises with 20 or more employees. See Figure 5.7.

Unincorporated enterprises

There was an increase of two percentage points between 2006 and 2011 (from 33 to 35 percent) in the proportion of unincorporated enterprises with no employees (eg. sole traders) owned by women.

The proportion of unincorporated enterprises with 1 to 19 employees owned by women has increased by one percentage point since 2006 (from 33 to 34 percent). See Figure 5.7.

Discussion

The great majority of incorporated business owners in NSW in 2011 (almost 200,000) had between 1 and 19 employees. A much smaller number (less than 16,000) owned businesses with 20 or more employees. Growth in numbers in recent years has been more notable for male-run incorporated businesses than for those run by women.

By contrast, looking at unincorporated enterprises between 2006 and 2011, there was an increase of 7 percent in the number of female sole traders, compared to a decrease of 3 percent for male sole traders.

An owner manager of an incorporated enterprise is a person who works in her/his own business, which is registered as a separate legal entity to its members or owners (also known as a limited liability company).

An owner manager of an unincorporated enterprise is a person who operates his/her own business, in which the owner and the business are legally inseparable, so that the owner is liable for any business debts that are incurred. It includes people engaged independently in a profession or trade.

Year collected: 2006 and 2011.
Data source: ABS Census of Population and Housing 2006 and 2011. More information is available at www.abs.gov.au

Figure 5.7 Women business owners by size and type of business, NSW, 2006 and 2011

Fig 5.7

Population: NSW residents who are owner managers of incorporated and unincorporated enterprises.
Source: ABS, Census of Population and Housing 2006 and 2011.