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Wollongong’s city centre and the immediately surrounding suburbs is a critical employment area. It is home to around 26,000 jobs which represents 29% of all employees in the LGA.
Around 23,000 residents across the wider Illawarra region travel to Greater Sydney for work, with a mix of skills in both white and blue-collar occupations. These skilled residents represent a talented pool of potential employees for any new business looking to establish or relocate to Wollongong.
In the last three years Wollongong has made considerable progress in lowering its unemployment rate. In the three years to 2017-2018, jobs growth averaged 2.1% per year. Subsequently the unemployment rate has fallen to 4.6% (as at September 2018). This result is below the NSW average of 4.8% which is only the second time in the last decade that the Wollongong rate has been below the NSW rate.
One of the key attractions for businesses considering moving to Wollongong is access to a highly skilled multilingual workforce.
Over 83,000 people employed within the LGA, with Professionals; Clerical and Administrative Workers; Technicians and Trade Workers; Community and Personal Service Workers; and Managers making up the top five occupations.
Wollongong’s workforce is highly educated, with around two thirds of the workforce holding tertiary qualifications. Since 2011, Wollongong has seen the number of workers with a Bachelor degree or higher increase by nearly one third.
As the regional capital of the Illawarra, Wollongong plays an important role in providing employment opportunities for both residents of Wollongong and the surrounding region. Wollongong provides jobs for 43% of employees from Shellharbour and 23% from Kiama.
This role as the regional capital reinforces the need for Wollongong to increase its job generation capability, for the benefit of both residents of the Wollongong Local Government Area (LGA) and residents of the broader Illawarra region. In addition, more than half (60%) of the total value of economic activity (as measured by Gross Regional Product) in the Illawarra occurs within the Wollongong LGA.