An increase in construction across Wollongong has opened up more job opportunities improving the city’s unemployment rate.

Wollongong’s population has risen by an average of 0.91% since 2010, motivating WCC to develop the city into a place where its residents are happy to live.


Wollongong City Council General Manager Greg Doyle is a part of the CBD’s development.

“We are working to create spaces and places where people want to go, eat and socialise,” he said.

The increase in development has meant that a large amount of construction jobs have opened up.

The Illawarra and Shoalhaven regions have benefitted from the city’s job market as a large portion of the workforce commutes into the city.

A large investment into Wollongong’s CBD was made in 2021 when a $400 million upgrade was proposed for WIN Grand. This proposal includes 50 new retailers.

Birketu and WIN Network’s chief executive Andrew Lancaster said the shopping precinct will help create more jobs.

“Wollongong is the city of innovation and WIN Grand aims to encourage fresh business and commercial opportunities by creating a strong pulse of activity within the city centre,” Mr Lancaster said.

Wollongong has had a 7.4 per cent increase in employment which exceeds the increase of jobs across NSW by 3.7%. The three sectors that have seen the largest amount of growth is the Health Care and Social Assistance, Construction and Public Administration and Safety sectors.

The Wollongong City Council Economic Development Strategy 2019-2029 aims to create 10,500 new jobs by 2029. This will include an active increase in median incomes, as generating high-paying jobs is expected for the future of Wollongong.

This future prosperity comes directly from the city’s university, the University of Wollongong (UOW). UOW is an industry-focused university and is ranked in the top 1 per cent of world universities. This university enrols over 20,000 students a year, bringing young people worldwide to Wollongong. In 2023 it was reported that 87.3 per cent of employers were satisfied with UOW graduates.

The 2021 ABS census reported that 7.4 per cent of the Wollongong population was aged between 20-24.

UOW has partnered with the Wollongong City Council and the NSW government to create a business development strategy called ‘Advantage Wollongong’. This is encouraging more white-collared workers and high-profiling jobs to stay in the local CBD once graduating from UOW. The marketing strategy of ‘Advantage Wollongong’ is to attract more businesses to the growing area.

The increase in business growth has offered new opportunities for development including, Lang’s Corner, IMB Bank Head Office, Gateway on Keira, Avante and WIN Grand. This will ensure main streets like Keira St, Crown St and Burelli St match the aesthetics that future Wollongong needs.

Minister for Planning and Public Spaces, Paul Scully understands the importance of the city’s development.

“With a rapidly expanding population, it’s never been more important to get these crucial planning steps right to make sure we have enough housing, jobs close to where people live and easily accessible healthy services,” Mr Scully said.

There has been an increase in construction work across the CBD to create an environment that is built to house the demand, with Wollongong’s crane index sitting at 18, the highest in any Australian regional city.

The 2021 census reported that 9.2% of the Wollongong job market is in the construction industry, which has risen by 1,288 people since 2016. The growth of this industry matches Wollongong’s development over the past decade.

The increase in employed people supports the record-low number of unemployment in Wollongong.

“It is noted that for Wollongong LGA, our unemployment rate reached a historic low of 2.7% in the June quarter 2023,” a Wollongong Council spokesperson said.

A large portion of spending is on Dining and Entertainment, this is a crucial factor that the Wollongong City Council is taking into account when building new developments.

“We’ve streamlined processes for approvals for outdoor dining permits… Our activated spaces in Lower Crown Street, the Crown Street Mall and Crown Lane attract people to meet and dine outside,” Mr Doyle said.

Wollongong resident Lachlan Wischer prioritise moved to Wollongong for the university and has since grown his social circle and career.

“Wollongong is a very active city, with lots of sport going on as well as many beaches and foreshore activities,” he said. “It is a very inviting city to be active in and as such has been great for my lifestyle.”

Mr Wischer is completing his Bachelor of Law this year at the University of Wollongong and works part-time at RMB Lawyers.

“Progressing beyond university, Wollongong offers a great balance of lifestyle benefits. I don’t have any pressing desire to move away after finishing my degree,” he said.

Wollongong City Council has other plans for the city, which is outlined in its Development Registers | City of Wollongong (