Nearly 1,000 more big businesses now than two decades ago

There are now 2,690 big businesses in New Zealand employing more than 100 staff – nearly 1,000 or 58 percent more than 20 years ago, according to Stats NZ. 

Over the 20 years to February 2020, the total number of enterprises in New Zealand increased by 49 percent to 557,680.

“At February 2020, the businesses with more than 100 employees engaged a total of 1,127,300 people or 48 percent of all employees,” business register manager Stuart Pitts says in a statement.

“This represents a slightly higher share of employees compared with a 46 percent share 20 years ago.”

The New Zealand businesses on average are still relatively small. The average number of employees in a New Zealand enterprise has consistently been below five throughout the past 20 years. 

“Historically, over two-thirds of New Zealand enterprises haven’t had any paid employees, partly influencing these low averages,” Pitts says.

These businesses are usually operated by owners themselves without the assistance of any paid employees.” 

At February 2020, 73 percent of enterprises had no paid employees – an increase from 66 percent 20 years ago.  

For enterprises with employees (‘employing enterprises’), the average number of employees went up from 12.6 per enterprise 20 years ago to 15.2 at February 2020. 

The number of enterprises with 50 or more employees was 6,020 at February 2020, recording a 57 percent increase over the past 20 years.

 The number of employees per enterprise for this size group was 224.9 at February 2020 – not very different from 227.9 employees per enterprise 20 years ago.  

At February 2000, manufacturing was the industry that had the highest number of enterprises (700) engaging 50 or more employees. While that increased slightly to 780 enterprises at February 2020, the education and training industry managed to take the lead with 800 enterprises engaging 50 or more employees – a 57 percent increase from February 2000. 

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