Wollongong's employment dilemma is that many of the jobs lost in the past decade are from those sectors with higher pay and more permanent work.
And while official unemployment numbers have declined - and jobs have shifted away from manufacturing and mining, towards health, services and education - work is often less secure, and less well-paid.
So the "new" Wollongong economic story retains a part of the old, as white-collar workers must take their skills outside the region if they want to take the next step.
None of this is news to people who spend dawn chasing a seat on the too-slow trains to Sydney.
"Many of the sectors which have had strong jobs growth also have low wages growth and vice versa," the draft strategy states.
"Four out of the top five growing sectors have median incomes less than $60,000 and six out of the nine sectors with median incomes above $60,000 experienced decline or little growth."
This means more jobs in health care, postal and warehousing, accommodation and food services and administration - all with median incomes below $57,000.
Jobs have been lost in mining (median income $102,000), finance and insurance ($86,000), and information/media/telecommunications ($78,000) and manufacturing ($56,000).
Wollongong Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery said this wage disparity was not unique to Wollongong.
"It also reflects the nature of the Australian economy," he said. "There's not only wage disparity, but for the high-paying jobs you've got to be in the capitals: Sydney, Canberra, and so on."
For the high-paying jobs you've got to be in the capitalsGordon Bradbery
As well as the jobs target, the economic development strategy seeks to find ways to grow jobs in better-paying industries, as well as matching job opportunities to the existing talent pool of graduates and commuters. And location is a major asset.
"We have the distinct advantage of being very close to the market," Cr Bradbery said.
"I think we've got a great advantage in that a lot of the major companies are likely to take into consideration their employees' lifestyles, access to higher education, good schools ... and that's what we can offer."