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Wollongong’s resident workforce

Wollongong has a large, experienced and multilingual workforce with skills ranging from traditional manufacturing expertise through to creative industries and digital and technology-based capabilities.

Our skilled workforce has often been referred to as one of the main reasons many business owners, executives and entrepreneurs have moved their business from Sydney or internationally to Wollongong.

“There are many graduates coming out of the University of Wollongong and there are also a lot of people in Sydney who are just fed up with the congestion and the chaos and who move to Wollongong for a better lifestyle.”

— David Laing, Senior Principal, Cardno

Wollongong’s local workforce is highly educated, with around two thirds holding tertiary qualifications. Over a quarter (26.3%) of the workforce has a bachelor degree or higher, a further 11.9% have an advanced diploma or diploma and 28.5% have a post-school certificate qualification.

23,000+ Commuter pool

“I love commuting, and travelling long distances in bumper-to-bumper traffic or on a jam-packed train” – said no one… ever! This is why businesses who move to Wollongong have a very unique opportunity before them – to access a large, ‘hungry-for-local-work’, skilled and readymade workforce.

Our commuter stats

Around 23,000 residents across the Illawarra region travel to Greater Sydney for work on a daily basis, with a good mix of skills in both white and blue-collar occupations.

Almost two thirds of commuters work in predominately white-collar occupations, including nearly 9,000 managers and professionals. Of these, the largest occupation group is specialist managers (2,000+ commuters), covering a range of sectors including advertising, marketing, public relations, human resources, ICT, finance, supply chain and construction.

“The Illawarra region has got a significant number of IT executives that have historically travelled to Sydney for work.”

— Bob Lanigan, National Sales Manager, NEC Australia

There are also 8,300 blue-collar workers who are commuting, including technicians and trades workers, sales and business development, machinery operators, drivers and labourers.

University of Wollongong graduates and current students

Wollongong’s large talent pool is complimented by the high number of students and graduates studying at the University of Wollongong. Currently, there are almost 26,000 students studying at the Wollongong campus in subjects as varied as engineering, information sciences, medicine, health, law, business and more.

Many options for seasonal, casual, contract, part time employees

The 26,000 Wollongong-based students should also be seen as potential high quality and enthusiastic seasonal, casual, contract or part time staff for your business. The university also runs internships and other programs where your business can work alongside UOW students.

“Working with UOW has allowed us to enlist some of the best young minds.”

— Michael Burton, CEO, Binary Beer

Multilingual employees

UOW community boasts 179 different nationalities. This offers opportunity for businesses who need to employ multilingual staff. If you are a business with an international client base or are looking to set up a satellite office with the ability to communicate easily with Australian-based staff – Wollongong is the home for you. We have the talent you need.

Statistics on our students that will impress potential employers

  • Highest ranked university in NSW and ACT overall by the federal government for learning resources, learner engagement and general skills (QILT 2019)
  • 98% of the disciplines at the UoW are rated above or well above world standard
  • Engineering and Technology disciplines are ranked 6th in Australia and 2nd in NSW respectively and 1st in NSW for Law
  • Top 1% of universities in the world for quality of graduates (23rd in the QS Graduate Employability Rankings 2019)
  • UOW was the only Australian university to be listed as a finalist for the prestigious Global Teaching Excellence Award (GTEA) for two consecutive years.

 “A huge majority of our staff have all studied at Wollongong University, and the university provides an endless stream of really high-quality people that we can encourage into the business.”

— Allan Robbins, CEO, Microsolve

Access to top academics and researchers

UOW has 10 distinguished professors and over 1000 academic staff. The university is known for its research excellence – it has 57 disciplines at, above, or well above world standard. Their expertise is also demonstrated by the research income received – totalling over $120 million in 2017.

If you are a business that is involved in innovation, research and development, you will have ample opportunities to tap into the knowledge base at UOW. Click here to view a comprehensive list of the many institutes and research opportunities available at UOW.

“The University of Wollongong has strong industry linkages and events which greatly benefit businesses and provide opportunities for students and researchers.”

— Warrick Shanks, Managing Partner, KPMG

Low Staff Turnover Rates

Employee retention is the goal of most businesses world-wide as people are the most important asset of a business. High staff turnover not only costs companies financially – it can affect the culture of a team when a well-liked staff member departs. There are costs of recruiting, training, induction, learning and development. And there are also costs to a business during the time the role is unfilled.  No wonder many savvy businesses are focussed on recruiting and retaining quality staff.

In Wollongong the risk of high staff turnover is minimised – and we have the research to prove it.  The independent ‘2019 Knowledge Services Capability Study’ by Fifth Quadrant found staff turnover in Wollongong is 8%, which is significantly lower than the turnover rate across Australia which sits at 19%.

There are many reasons why Wollongong is unique in this area. Wollongong-based businesses are able to provide their employees with enhanced work-life balance due to shorter commute times. Happier and refreshed employees are more productive. The Fifth Quadrant Report also highlighted that ‘Quality of Life’ is one of Wollongong’s top performing areas.

“We have found that the employee turnover is low, so we have to spend less time and money training new staff. Also, the quality of available staff for new positions is great.”

— Robert De Dominicis, Group CEO and Managing Director, GBST