Opportunity strong in Wollongong: 2021 in review

From the city’s ongoing office market transformation, to a thriving tech sector offering career opportunities, to initiatives in clean energy, there's plenty of momentum in Wollongong.

As the year 2021 draws to a close there’s much positive to reflect on, and look forward to, for Invest Wollongong.

From the city’s ongoing office market transformation, to a thriving tech sector offering great job opportunities, to initiatives in clean energy and particularly green hydrogen, Wollongong is not a city standing still.

Invest Wollongong is a partnership of Wollongong City Council, NSW Government and the University of Wollongong. Its goal is to attract new businesses, investment and jobs by promoting Wollongong as a superior business location in key target sectors.

Office market uplift

Despite the significant changes the pandemic has meant for the traditional way of working, Wollongong is well positioned for businesses evaluating new and flexible models of work, especially as a regional hub for ‘satellite teams’ of large businesses in capital cities.

Confidence in Wollongong’s office market is strong, demonstrated by new figures showing an 87% uplift in the pipeline of A-grade office developments in Wollongong CBD.

Along with completed premium new office spaces, such as Avante, Gateway on Keira and IMB Bank’s HQ, growth is being driven by a number of new development proposals in the city.

These include the  $300M+ WIN Grand development, proposing to redevelop a city block with a mix of modern residential, recreational, office and entertainment spaces – and the proposed redevelopment of the Downtown Motel site on lower Crown Street with 9 storeys of A-grade office accommodation.

Meanwhile, the landmark Lang’s Corner, currently under construction will bring online around 11,000sqm of premium new office space in Wollongong in mid-2022.

Benefits for business and life

At a time when more people than ever are leaving capital cities, we know from our analysis that businesses in Wollongong enjoy distinct advantages: staff turnover rates that are half the national average; a large, skilled talent pool including thousands of graduates annually from UOW; and an enviable lifestyle thanks to great infrastructure that means the city is easy to travel around, and go from home, to the office, to a beach or bushwalk within minutes. In Wollongong, people can be spontaneous.

This video is one of the ways we’re sharing how well our city is positioned for business – whether it be starting up, a scale-up or a well-established brand – as part of a broader digital marketing campaign to grow awareness of all that our vibrant coastal city has to offer.

Tech and clean energy sector momentum

Another indication that our city offers a legitimate alternative to big CBD’s is the number of tech companies Wollongong has grown and is supporting to grow further. Some nationally and globally significant companies have a large presence here, including NEC, Objective and FinoComp.

Scaling companies such as Accelo, Devika, Easy Agile and Scalapay are all supporting global clients from our city. Many of these companies are looking to grow, offering career and project opportunities on par with any big city firm.

Meanwhile, Wollongong’s heritage as a steel manufacturing city has it positioned with the infrastructure and skills needed to support the nation’s transition to renewable energy, and the NSW Government’s designation of Port Kembla as a hydrogen hub has generated further momentum in the clean energy sector here.

There’s been some significant announcements in this sector, including from companies based in Wollongong including Coregas, AIE, Bluescope and Energy Australia, partnering with global organisations such as, Shell, Hyzon and GE, to drive innovation and uptake of emerging technologies in hydrogen production and storage.

Looking forward

Based on these initiatives in the city, in 2021 Invest Wollongong has been working to demonstrate to key decision makers, particularly in businesses in Sydney and Melbourne, that Wollongong is a legitimate and logical alternative CBD location for a regional hub, satellite office, or to relocate or establish a business.

We’ve done this through our marketing activities, including a digital marketing campaign across search engine marketing, display advertising, social media advertising and video advertising. We’ve also included profile articles in key publications to raise awareness of our city as a business location.

Members of the team have attended conferences and exhibitions to meet people and share the benefits of – and our passion for – Wollongong, including at Shared Services Outsourcing Week and the Landforces Australia defence exposition.

And we’ve continued to demonstrate some of the exciting initiatives and announcements happening in our city in the clean energy space, via tours, online briefings and social media.

Looking forward into 2022, as well as the momentum in tech, clean energy and startups, the city is also set to host one of the biggest events in international cycling, the UCI Road World Championships, which will showcase our city to millions viewing the event around the world.

For these reasons and more, we’re positive and confident about Wollongong’s position as a business location.

At Invest Wollongong, we’ll continue to challenge business to seriously consider our city when evaluating new workforce models, working arrangements and regional hubs to better support their business and teams in a post COVID-19 world.

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