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Why Western Sydney? A personal manifesto
Walking around Western Sydney as it is today, opportunity certainly abounds. How would I know? As the NSW head of a company that specialises in helping build both companies and careers, I have learned to spot the signs.
There’s an air of potential in suburbs such as Blacktown – and ambitions are rising in areas like Harris Park, Australia’s third most multicultural suburb.
One aspect that makes me truly excited about this project is that the hopes and dreams of West Sydney really are those of the new Australia. According to the last Australian census, this zone is one of the most multicultural areas in the world – in a city that is home to 70 nationalities, West Sydney has a dozen of Australia’s most multicultural suburbs.
Half of Bankstown’s residents speak a language other than English at home. More than two-thirds of residents in Cabramatta, Wolli Creek and Hurstville were born overseas. And as demographer Bernard Salt noted, globally only New York and East London can boast greater levels of diversity.
Why wouldn’t you be excited about Western Sydney? Already Australia’s third largest economic region and home to 47 percent of Sydney’s population today, the area is already gearing up for a projected 1.9% population growth each year over the next 20 years.
According to the plan, that feels like the perfect formula for employment growth: with a projected 200,000 new jobs expected by 2020. We anticipate a ‘balancing out’ of employment distribution in Sydney, and a boom for Western Sydney in sectors including property, infrastructure and construction, manufacturing, sales and service-related industries.
New homes are coming too: with land for more than 95,000 new homes having been rezoned in the Western Sydney growth centres. And the added bonus of creating so many jobs in a place of such cultural diversity – and nearby one of the country’s soon-to-open business airports? It surely makes Western Sydney one of the best places to launch an export business: proving your concept amid a global market, with a ready-made springboard to those same markets abroad.
Planting a garden
Yet as any market gardener will tell you, whether it is eggplants or bok choy that you’re growing, no seed bed will grow without love and encouragement – and neither can an area’s potential turn into results without the proper support.
Luckily, we know that areas like Parramatta, Blacktown and Campbelltown have been earmarked for substantial investment, rejuvenation and economic growth by private business and government bodies alike. The Badgerys Creek airport project, spoken of for more than a decade, is now a true pipeline project, slated for completion in 2026 – and having received the backing of the Federal Government, which is helming the project.
Why? Because they, like Michael Page, know these sites are considered perfectly strategic new business locations, given their centrality to large numbers of Sydney’s population, strong transport links and an aspirational local population.
What SMEs need
Currently, the majority of Western Sydney businesses are small and medium enterprises (SMEs). And with the impact of decentralisation and consolidation in New South Wales, we know that large businesses are on the way – some already established companies like Woolworths and Aldi have moved here: many more including NAB and Amazon will soon be thriving in the region.
I also know, because our management is on the steering committee of Shaping Future Cities, a position that might give us fewer evenings in an average month to go for a run – but certainly provides a unique view on a project that’s truly gaining speed.
Helping out now
People who work with me know I don’t hold back in ambition: which is why I’m crystal clear that I want our company to be the top recruiter in Western Sydney. But we’re not going to get there by being unrealistic. And I know it’s not easy to invest in the dream today.
I speak with SMEs every day who tell me, “Yes alright Adrian, but I’m over here already. And now what?” And that right there is the challenge. It’s one thing to invest in the green field, knowing what’s coming – but let’s talk to the pain points of doing business next year in a place that is not yet completely there.
What of the struggle for technology start-ups to find the right talent to choose Penrith, when they could be working five minutes from the Harbour Bridge? How are HR managers in small businesses in the West meant to compete in the costly effort of talent recruitment with global companies boasting budgets with more zeroes than theirs?
That’s why, starting this month, we’re investing in helping you out with today’s hiring problems.
By working with a team of talented recruitment specialists and some seasoned storytellers, we are gathering forces to help you through the landmines of hiring now.
But don’t just take our word for it. We’ve gathered a team of true Western Sydney champions, from across many different disciplines, age groups and cultures. We have the head of a local law firm. A founding partner in a property investor. The leader of a co-working space. A champion of women’s employees. And serial entrepreneurs.
Up for discussion will be hiring tactics and niche opportunities – ways to spread your HR spending in clever ways, and smart tactics around retention and marketing. It’s our way of building a tool-kit for SME managers to negotiate the road to a real Western Sydney dream: and our way of investing in being a part of that dream.