Business helps plan for a growing city

Business helps plan for a growing city

Local businesses are encouraged to take part in a major citywide survey that will provide a snapshot of Sydney’s most popular industries, changing trends in employment and the number of jobs in the city.

Over the next nine months, a team of 30 surveyors will visit more than 11,000 buildings for the City of Sydney’s latest floor space and employment survey, which takes place every five years following the national census.

Surveyors will complete a visual inspection of more than 48 million square metres of internal and external floor space. They will collect data on the number, size and type of businesses, the number of workers employed in each industry, and how floor space is used across the city.

Lord Mayor Clover Moore said the study provided vital information to help the City plan for the future.

“Our city is the engine room of the NSW economy, and we are continuing to grow, with more jobs and businesses moving into the area every year,” the Lord Mayor said.

“The floor space and employment survey is an important way of tracking this growth, giving us a picture of how space is being used on every floor of every building across the city.

“This helps us understand how industries, employment and activity change over time, and guides the strategic planning and policy decisions we make to support business and encourage sustainable growth.”

The last floor space and employment survey in 2012 estimated that around 20 per cent of all employment in metropolitan Sydney is in the City of Sydney area.

The survey revealed the number of businesses in the city had increased by more than 2,000 – or 10.5 per cent – over the previous five years, while the number of jobs had increased by 52,000 jobs – or 13.6 per cent.

It also recorded significant employment growth in sectors including professional and business services, food and drink, higher education and research and creative industries, and areas including the CBD, Pyrmont, Camperdown, Redfern and Green Square.

Sydney’s floor space and employment survey was one of the first of its kind worldwide when it started in the 1970s. The City’s Strategic Research Manager, Phil Raskall, was instrumental in setting it up.

“When we first started doing the survey, it was groundbreaking work that wasn’t being done anywhere else,” Mr Raskall said.

“The technology we use has changed since the first survey in 1976 – back then, we had a team of draftspeople help us draw up plans of every floor of every building across the CBD. Now we use tablets and GIS to build 3D maps – but the process we follow and the data we collect is exactly the same more than 40 years later.

“The City’s floor space and employment survey has been recognised as one of the most comprehensive in the world. New York City has described our work in the field as best practice, and we have postgraduate students from every continent taking part.

“It’s a real privilege to work on a project that provides such a fascinating insight into the mechanics of how the city works and how it’s changed over time.”

The results of the 2017 floor space and employment survey are expected to be available in early 2018.

For more information on how the data is used and to view the 2012 survey results, visit

For media inquiries or images, contact City of Sydney Senior Media Advisor Alex Cauchi.

Phone 0467 803 815 or email

For interviews with Lord Mayor Clover Moore, contact Matt Levinson.

Phone 0499 319 385 or email