Transition, diversity and entrepreneurship

Family businesses in Australia play an important role in our society, and our economy. They represent 67 percent of all Australian businesses, provide 55 percent of private sector employment, 48 percent of total private sector wages paid and half of all gross industry value added in Australia1. We want these businesses to continue being successful.

In this survey, we explore three main themes for building sustainable family businesses. These themes are discussed in depth with commentary from local family businesses that offer an Australian lens on the experiences.

Transition planning

Why putting in place plans for a successful transition of leadership and/or ownership of the family business benefits both the family and the business.

Leadership diversity

Why fostering diversity of gender and experiences in leadership roles and more broadly across the business is beneficial.

Entrepreneurship across generations

How entrepreneurship often diminishes as a new generation takes over, and how to sustain this vital competitive edge.

Family businesses face many challenges, but also offer countless rewards for the family members, industries and communities that they serve. By focusing on succession planning, and in particular the areas of transition, fostering diversity in leadership and other roles, and sparking next-generation entrepreneurship, family business can continue to evolve and grow – sustainably.

The insights shared in this report come from analysis of KPMG Australia’s in-depth interviews with seven Australian family businesses, conducted in late 2020. These interviews explored Australian family businesses’ perspectives on key findings from the STEP Project Global Consortium 2019 Global Family Business Survey and subsequently on the challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. The insights also draw on KPMG’s deep experience in working with family businesses, expertise from Associate Professor Chris Graves and Dr. Francesco Barbera from the University of Adelaide’s Family Business Education and Research Group (FBERG), and relevant academic research.

  1. Based on economic modelling undertaken by Associate Professor Chris Graves, The University of Adelaide, using Australian Bureau of Statistics data and IBISWorld data on the largest 2,000 unlisted Australian businesses.

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