How to grow a sector already employing 6000 people in Wollongong

Gong good for business: Craig Osborne and Mark Grimson see many benefits for organisations in Knowledge Services sector coming to Wollongong. Picture: Greg Ellis.
Gong good for business: Craig Osborne and Mark Grimson see many benefits for organisations in Knowledge Services sector coming to Wollongong. Picture: Greg Ellis.

How do we grow a sector already employing 6000 people in Wollongong?

The benefits of enterprises in Knowledge Services setting up shop in the city is the subject of a new study designed to help attract more business. The findings will be used to help promote Wollongong as a great place to locate.

Advantage Wollongong has commissioned the research. It asking organisations in the sector to help it assess the Wollongong advantage and appeal of doing business in the Illawarra.

Organisations working in the shared services, information communication and technology, superannuation, finance and business services have grown steadily in a city that boasts affordable living and a great lifestyle. Which is a reason why Wollongong based enterprises in the sector have lower staff turnover and lower recruitment and training costs.  

Unison Outsourcing is an example of the potential of new businesses opening in the sector. Craig Osborne said the Unison was established two years ago to tap into a niche market not presently being filled.

“Unison Outsourcing is a law firm corporation rather than a partnership. It performs work for really big law firms and in-house legal teams of big organisations. We do the low end work that no one wants to do. We do it in volume and at high speed and using our lower cost base in regional Australia”.

“Unison was set up in direct competition to India and Philippines.It has grown quite fast,” Mr Osborne said.

“We have full time employees. We have people who want to work time to time to suit their lifestyle. And we have a great relationships with UOW’s Law Faculty and are able to engage law students to work in our teams.”

Unison Outsourcing now has a team of 12 full time employees but can have up to 30 people working on a project at any one time.

The Advantage Wollongong study will focus on capturing the make-up of Wollongong-based Knowledge Services businesses and quantify the benefits of doing business in Wollongong.

It is felt comparing those benefits with other locations such as Sydney will encourage more organisations in the sector to relocate to Wollongong and employ more local people.

Wollongong City Council economic development manager Mark Grimson said results from the research presently underway will be used to further market the case for Wollongong as an attractive location for Knowledge Services operations.

“We know first-hand the advantages of being based in Wollongong, and our next steps are to quantify this so that we can showcase these benefits to businesses and investors outside the region,” he said.

‘We encourage all of our local Knowledge Services businesses to participate in the study and become part of the ongoing promotion of our capabilities in this sector’.

Mr Grimson said the survey has been sent to all local Knowledge Services businesses in Wollongong.

All responses will remain confidential.

Mr Osborne thinks the survey will produce some very positive results because “Wollongong is doing really well in this space across all sorts of industries”.

Advantage Wollongong is a partnership between the NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet, Wollongong City Council and the University of Wollongong.

The partners work together to promote the city and assist interested businesses and investors.