Media releases

Jobs boom in the heart of the city

Published 11 December 2018

A new survey released today reveals that jobs are booming in the City of Sydney area with an extra 66,017 jobs created in the five years from 2012 to 2017 - an increase of 15.1 per cent.

The survey showed there are now 501,786 workers based in the city area, with 86 per cent employed in full-time jobs. Those workers are employed by 23,511 businesses, with more than half based in the area north of Bathurst Street.

The new statistics come from the City's floor space and employment survey - a detailed audit of more than 26,000 buildings conducted every five years within the local government area.

Lord Mayor Clover Moore said the City's floor space and employment survey was the largest of its kind in Australia.

"The results show that the City of Sydney is the epicentre of jobs and growth in Australia. By creating a city where people come first, we've seen that jobs and new businesses also follow," the Lord Mayor said.

"To attract high-value businesses with good paying jobs, you need to attract employees. The strength of local communities is a key attraction for people choosing where to live, work or visit.

"High quality developments close to jobs, shops and transport, efficient transport and safe and attractive ways for people to move around, childcare, stunning community facilities, beautiful parks and open spaces, quirky laneways, small bars, main streets with thriving small businesses - these are all things we've actively pursued over the last fourteen years.

"It's also important that the City is a welcoming, multicultural community where people feel included."

The Lord Mayor also said the survey confirmed Sydney's position as Australia's leading knowledge-based economy with over 162,000 workers involved in information communication technologies (ICT), higher education & research and professional & business services.

"Our strong economic position has been driven by our Tech Startups Action Plan, which included a development agreement signed in 2016 to secure 3,700 square metres of low-cost innovation space in the Sydney CBD," the Lord Mayor said.

"These new figures build on solid growth from 2007 to 2012, bringing total job growth to more than 116,000 additional workers since 2007 - an increase of over 30 per cent."

The City's floor space and employment survey provides an invaluable understanding of how floor space is being used and how many people are working in the area including the kinds of work environments they prefer and which sectors are growing.

The survey was conducted over 10 months with key insights that included:

  • a total of 425,339 (85 per cent) of city workers are based in offices
  • the proportion of workers in open plan offices grew from 78 per cent in 2012 to 83 per cent in 2017
  • financial services remains the largest job provider, increasing its share of the city workforce to 23 per cent and employing an additional 16,005 workers (a 16.1 per cent increase); and
  • the largest growth in the city occurred in the professional and business services sector, with an additional 21,282 workers (27.2 per cent increase).

The survey also revealed the changing nature of some sectors. The number of food and drink businesses increased by 457 (14 per cent) while the number of workers dropped by 1,372 (five per cent).

The City's manager of urban analytics, Steven Hillier, said the figures painted a positive picture for Sydney's economy.

"Professional and business services remains the fastest growing employment sector in the City of Sydney area. It's the glue that holds other industries together such as financial services, ICT and the creative sector," Mr Hillier said.

"Business floor space has increased by 744,000 (4.5 per cent) square metres over five years, which is well behind the rate of employment growth. This means we have more people working in less space which is a result of the continued popularity of open plan offices."

Top five employment sectors:

  1. Finance and financial services - 115,693 workers - 23.1 per cent
  2. Professional and business services - 99,404 - 19.8 per cent
  3. Information Communication Technology - 34,157 - 6.8 per cent
  4. Government - 34,125 - 6.8 per cent
  5. Creative industries - 33,027 - 6.6 per cent

High-growth employment sectors (2012-2017):

  1. Professional and business services - 21,282 additional workers - 27.2 per cent increase
  2. Finance and financial services - 16,005 additional workers - 16.1 per cent increase
  3. Property development and operation - 11,405 additional workers - 122.7 per cent increase
  4. Information communication technologies - 7,195 additional workers - 26.7 per cent increase
  5. Government - 8,250 additional workers - 31.9 per cent increase

To view the floor space and employment survey data, visit

For media inquiries or images, contact Alex Cauchi. Phone mobile 0467 803 815 or email

For interviews with Lord Mayor Clover Moore, contact Julia Lenton. Phone 0410 748 039 or email