Once in a lifetime

Australia’s intergenerational succession

Australian private and family businesses are in the midst of a once-in-a-generation event. Over the next few years, a significant amount of responsibility and wealth will change hands as owners retire, sell up, or pass the reins on to the next generation.


Getting these business and wealth transfers right is one of the biggest challenges facing business owners and the broader economy.

If managed well, it could underpin a new wave of prosperity and growth for Australia. But if mishandled, it could result in a significant destruction of value, erosion of the tax base, loss of employment, and in turn, less money for social services such as infrastructure, hospitals and schools.

We already know that the Australian sector is unique, with our latest research showing Australian business owners are almost twice as likely to sell their business compared with their global counterparts.

‘Once in a Lifetime’ shines a light on the Australian private and family business landscape, providing insight into the key issues, opportunities and outcomes for the sector.

In this report, we set the scene by exploring the drivers behind the great Australian wealth transfer and outlining what’s at stake. We discuss the different paths retiring or exiting business owners are taking, share their experiences, and offer guidance on what owners need to do to make sure their next move – succession or sale – is a success.

Getting this once in a lifetime opportunity right is in everyone’s interest.

Playback of this video is not currently available


Once in a lifetime: Australia's intergenerational succession

Australia's private and family business sector plays a fundamental role in Australia's economy and society.

Our story: The Village Glen's Manager, Jane Luxford, and Sales Manager, Damien Jacobsen

Watch the video

Our story: Vittoria Food and Beverage's Managing Director, Rolando Schirato and family member, Gabriella Schirato

Watch the video


Why we need to talk about Australia's intergenerational succession

Australia's private and family business sector plays a fundamental role in Australia's economy and society. As the custodians of these businesses reach retirement age, ensuring the ongoing success of these businesses, including navigating succession or sale, is crucial to Australia's prosperity.

The once-in-a-lifetime event for family businesses

Selling your business

The market for private and family business sales has been steadily strengthening. In other words, it's a good time to be selling your business.

This sale can represent a culmination of a lifetime's work. You only get one chance to sell your business - plan to get the most from your one and only exit.

The sale can be challenging on both a financial and personal level. Have you valued your business appropriately? And are you ready for life after the business?

Passing on the reins of your business

Succession planning is more than just a document. It must be supported by regular and effective communication between family members, and appropriate education and training for the family, to ensure harmony and continuity.

Successful transitions also require the next generation of leaders to be ready, willing and able to run a family business and steer it towards growth.


A spotlight on... making a difference

Almost four in ten of the next generation are particularly keen on playing a bigger role in helping their family business make a positive contribution towards society. And a large proportion see social responsibility as an integral part of what the family business does.

Taking a more professional and strategic approach to social responsibility can provide next gens with the opportunity to sharpen their business acumen. And measuring the impact of their philanthropic efforts can result in 'better giving'.

In 'Once in a Lifetime: Making a difference', we explore key trends in philanthropy amongst family businesses, and the steps you can take to ensure your philanthropy is effective and sustainable.


Contact us

Martina Crowley

PwC | Private | Partner, PwC Australia

Tel: +61 3 8603 1450

Glen Frost

Partner, Private - Family Office, PwC Australia

Tel: +61 408 616 990

Samantha Vidler

PwC | Private | Partner, PwC Australia

Tel: +61 402 487 522

Paul Lewis

Partner, Private, PwC Australia

Tel: +61 3 8603 3678

Jason Habak

Partner Private, PwC Australia

Tel: +61 2 8266 2960

Troy Porter

Partner, Private Capital Industry Leader, PwC Australia

Tel: +61 2 8266 7516

Rob Silverwood

Partner, Financial Advisory Business Leader, PwC Australia

Tel: +61 3 8603 2315

Required fields are marked with an asterisk(*)

By submitting your email address, you acknowledge that you have read the Privacy Policy and that you consent to our processing data in accordance with the Privacy Policy (including international transfers). If you change your mind at any time about wishing to receive the information from us, you can send us an email message using the Contact Us page.

Contact us