The grass isn’t greener: Local growth trumps overseas markets

Right here on home soil is where the growth for Australian businesses is, a new report has found.

Research from workplace provider Regus shows that Australian companies are growing much more rapidly at home than abroad, but access to talent is the main barrier to expansion. Some 41 per cent of Australian companies are reporting local growth compared to 15 per cent seeking growth in overseas markets.

The research, which canvassed the opinions of more than 20,000 senior executives and business owners across 95 countries, found that every state reported higher levels of growth within Australia. Nearly half of the respondents reported local growth in Melbourne (48 per cent), followed by Sydney (42 per cent) and Adelaide (39 per cent).

Nearly half of small businesses (less than 49 employees) within Australia reported higher levels of local growth (44 per cent), compared to only 27 per cent of large businesses (more than 250 employees). However, large businesses experienced a more balanced growth across both local and foreign markets with 33 per cent reporting this compared to only 18 per cent of small businesses.

The research found growth in exports is currently low in comparison to local expansion. Only 15 per cent of firms have experienced growth from exports – with only 14 per cent in Sydney and only 13 per cent in Melbourne.

According to the research, the largest barriers to international growth by Australian firms include:

  • Hiring top quality staff (75 per cent)
  • Lack of local knowledge and connections (62 per cent)
  • Lack of market information (51 per cent)
  • Access to flexible office space (51 per cent)

Nearly one third (31 per cent) of small businesses reported a lack of government support compared to only 16 per cent of large businesses.

“While it is encouraging to see Australian businesses pursuing growth opportunities at home, past research shows that companies operating overseas show better overall growth as well as better profitability. This reminds us of how important it is for businesses to remain flexible so they can respond to Australian market volatility,” Paul Migliorini, CEO of Regus Australia and New Zealand said.

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