• Growth Index Overview

Uncovering Australia’s middle-market

Globally, BDO has a strong affiliation with the dynamic mid-market. In Australia, it’s no different.

It’s where we fit and have solid business relationships in this space. Our relationships are peer-to-peer, respectful, innovative and always growth-orientated.

Yet, the mid-market is a mystery.

People seem to understand what small business is and even big-business – but the middle market is less defined. To be clear, this is where the action is. These are growing businesses, dynamic, fast-moving, entrepreneurial in nature, exploring new regions and new markets, embracing technology and that is why BDO resonates with them as we understand growth and in particular understand the mid-market because of the client profile we have in this sector.

There is a lack of clear consensus as to what counts as the ‘middle’ and how to define the ‘market’.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), for example, defines medium sized businesses as those who employ between 20 and 200 employees. No parameters for revenue, however, are included in their definition. In 2016 the ABS reported that based on employment size, there are 51,024 medium sized businesses in Australia. Medium sized businesses account for just 2% of the 2.2 million businesses recorded by the ABS. Others have claimed that the middle market is based on annual turnover, with definitions ranging anywhere between $5 million and $500 million.

Yet, this 2%:

  • employs over 20% of the Australian workforce,
  • contributes a fifth (18%) of net tax (almost $13bn) to the Australian economy
  • and produces nearly a quarter of Australia’s revenue (23%) ($645bn)

For the purpose of this report, we define the Australian middle market as businesses with an annual turnover between $10 million and $250 million. This definition is based on data used by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) and their delineation of revenue, as well as research by the Australian Graduate School of Management. In contrast to the ABS the ATO defines businesses size by their income. Their definitions divide Australian businesses into seven size categories that range from ‘loss’ on the lowest end of the spectrum to ‘very large’ on the highest end. Businesses earning between $10 million and $250 million are defined as being ‘medium to large’ in size. Businesses in this category contribute close to one fifth of net tax (18%). Medium to large sized businesses have been defined as the middle market in this report, as they are the definable ‘middle’ of the net tax market.

It is clearly a mis-understood space – so at BDO we are also creating an index of growing mid-market businesses as this is the true core of the Australian market.


BDO Australia – report on the dynamic middle market

As a nation, Australia has enjoyed 26 years of consecutive economic growth. This is the longest period of recession-free growth that any developed country has experienced during this time. Our record-breaking performance is rivalled only by Japan’s performance between 1975 and 1993 and the Netherlands’ growth from 1983 to 2002.1 

Much has changed during Australia’s 26 years of economic success. Our economic growth has taken shape amidst significant technological, demographic, generational and social change. The Australia we live in today is vastly different from that of the late 20th century….

Download our report on the Australian mid-market

Australian mid-market report

The BDO Growth Index

Continuing our research in this market segment, The BDO Growth index will be launched in the first quarter of 2018. The research is already concluded and final tweaks are being made to the report.

Collaborating with IBIS World, we analyse financial results for 518 privately held (53%) and publically listed (47%) organisations across various revenue bands.


Number of businesses comprising the BDO Growth Index
Proprietary vs Public companies

In total these 500+ organisations generate combined revenues exceeding $127bn dollars and contribute 18% of net tax to the Australian economy.

By state: these mid-market business are situated across the country as follows:

By State
By State

Through 2018 – we will launch numerous insights of the market in terms of mid-market M&A Activity and mid-market Remuneration trends for this market. Please feel free to make contact should you wish to learn more.

Learn more

If you would like to receive more information or learn more, please register your interest here: