New report reveals UOW's growing contribution to Illawarra economy

The University of Wollongong is pouring $20 million more each year into the Australian economy than it was four years ago, a new report on the institution’s economic impacts has found.

The study – Leading Locally, Competing Globally – is the second of its kind the university has produced and reveals the institution has continued to thrive amid a changing Illawarra economy.

In 2015, the university contributed $1.21 billion to gross domestic product, up from $1.19 billion the last time it crunched the numbers in 2011.

The report also found the direct economic contribution of UOW to the Illawarra was $573 million, an increase of 7.7 per cent in four years.

The university’s chief finance officer Damien Israel said much of this contribution has come from growth in the wages paid by UOW.

Since 2011, the university has employed an extra 309 full time equivalent employees, with the labour costs up from $250 million to $342 million in four years.

“In this time there has been wage growth and also additional staff employed by the university, so the wages bill has grown and that’s added to the broader Illawarra economy,” he said.

“A 7.7 per cent growth in that period is a pretty fair achievement given how perhaps other parts of the economy are behaving.

“It’s important for the local community that one of its major institutions is continuing to grow, and continuing to provide a growing and positive economic impact into the region.”

The research has also calculated the ripple effect of spending and jobs growth at the university, and says that for every 1000 full time jobs created by UOW, another 1100 jobs are created elsewhere in the economy.

Mr Israel said the updated research was proof the university had continued to thrive amid challenging times for the higher education sector, which has faced increased competition and an uncertain policy environment in recent years.

He said its future plans, including the continued expansion of the Innovation Campus and a number of new buildings at the main campus would put UOW on “a trajectory for further growth and strength”.

“We’ve got some fantastic new developments, like the Molecular Life Sciences Building, which have the capacity to create a whole area of economic development that hasn’t existed previously and also our Innovation Campus… still has more than half the campus to be developed,” he said.

“Likewise, we’ve released our master plan and we’re planning for the future there, with hopefully more students coming to us, so overall, we’re on a great trajectory.”

KEY UOW FIGURES

  • $1.21 billion contribution to gross domestic product
  • $2.2 billion in gross output
  • $573 million direct input to Illawarra economy
  • 2659 full time employees
  • $342 million in wages and labour costs
  • 10169 total full time jobs generated due to UOW
On the way up: The University of Wollongong directly contributes $41 million more a year to the Illawarra economy, a new report from the uni says. Picture: Adam McLean.

On the way up: The University of Wollongong directly contributes $41 million more a year to the Illawarra economy, a new report from the uni says. Picture: Adam McLean.

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