Improving service sector productivity: the economic imperative


CEDA will release a research report in June 2017 that will examine the economic consequences of Australia’s productivity performance in the service sector. This report will assess the productivity performance of the sector and discuss policies and areas that can contribute to an improvement in the productivity of services.

The vast majority of Australian workers are engaged in the service sector which, in turn, generates the largest component of national wealth; and increasingly we are exporting services.

In recent times, Australia’s productivity performance has been poor, although this has been mostly the result of cyclical and industry-specific factors. The economic reforms introduced in the 1980s and 1990s have been successful in adding economic flexibility and improving Australia’s competitiveness. However, those reforms largely ignored a significant part of the service sector, particularly the non-market sectors of education and healthcare.

Australia’s long term economic prosperity is heavily reliant on productivity improvements. CEDA has been calling for a National Productivity Policy that addresses rigidities in the economy, incentivises innovation and improves the capability of its human capital – including in the education and health sectors. This was reflected in CEDA’s recent two-part series on economic repair (Deficit to balance: budget repair options and Australia’s economic future: An agenda for growth) which raised the importance of productivity-enhancing measures to ensure Australia’s economic prosperity.

It is of crucial importance that the service sector improves its productivity performance. In analysing this issue, CEDA aims to assess the role of the service sector by seeking to answer the following questions:

  • What is the industry's productivity scorecard?
  • How does Australia's performance compare internationally?
  • What are the impediments and drivers of productivity growth?
  • Where are there productivity gains to be made?
  • What is the importance of service to exports?

It will also seek to showcase examples of policy reforms and case studies including key policy learnings from these examples. The report aims to discuss policies and areas that could contribute to an improvement in the service sector productivity performance in order to sustain Australia’s economic growth.

Report launch and release events

This report will be launched in Sydney on 15 June 2017 with events to follow around the country.
Adelaide | 20 June 2017 Perth | 22 June 2017
Brisbane | 23 June 2017 Melbourne | 27 June 2017


Sponsorship opportunities available

Align your brand with CEDA and communicate with hard-to-reach business, government and policy leaders by sponsoring this research report. Contact Sharon Braun, on 03 9652 8409 or email.

Recent CEDA research




VET: securing skills for growth

(August 2016)

Australia's economic future: an agenda for growth

(June 2016)    

Deficit to balance: budget repair options

(March 2016) 

Global networks: transforming how Australia does business

(November 2015) 

The super challenge of retirement income policy 

(September 2015)