There is a worldwide trend towards self-employment since the turn of the new millenium (1).
According to the May 1993 edition of Australian Industry Trends by the Bureau of Industry Economics, the average number of people working in Australian small business has increased from 2.23 million in 1985-86 to 2.6 million in 1991-92. In 1996, the numbers had reached 3 million (see Figure 1).
Figure 1. Australian self-employment trends.
As stated on page 101:
"During 1991-92, an average of 2.6 million persons worked in Australian small businesses, representing slightly more than half (51 per cent) of total business employment...."
For the 1991-92 period, approximately 35.4 per cent of total small business employment represented business owners, including self-employed individuals and employers (see Figure 2).
Figure 2. Percentage of the Australian workforce who were business owners in 1991-92.