The NSW workforce

NSW leads the country's services economy, especially in financial and insurance services and information and communications technologies (ICT). The state's multilingual and well-educated workforce has migrated here from all over the world.

Services sector

The services sector is a major component of Australia's economy, with NSW leading the country in this high-value sector. The services sector makes up 86 per cent of the state's industry output, and NSW accounts for 40 per cent of the country's services exports.

The services in which NSW leads the country include:

  • financial and insurance services (42 per cent of national jobs)
  • information media and telecommunications (39 per cent)
  • accommodation and food services (35 per cent)
  • wholesale trade (34 per cent)
  • professional, scientific and technical services (3 per cent).

Regional areas

NSW also employs more people in the agriculture, forestry and fishing sectors than any other state or territory, with more than 91 per cent of these workers located in regional areas outside Sydney, NSW's capital.

Just under 33 per cent of Australia's workers live in NSW, and almost 66 per cent of NSW's workers live in Sydney.

More managers and professionals

Sydney is home to more managers and professionals than any other state capital, employing 40 per cent of the city's workers in these jobs.

Almost 33 per cent of Australia's skilled knowledge workers live in NSW, including managers, professionals, and technicians in engineering, ICT and science.

Skilled workers in NSW receive competitive salaries, especially for middle and senior management roles.

Demand is particularly high in areas such as finance, information technology, engineering, science, manufacturing, marketing and sales.

Global expertise

Almost 31 per cent of the NSW workforce was born overseas, compared with 28 per cent for the rest of Australia. As a result, the state has the country's largest multilingual workforce.

NSW's workers come from countries such as:

  • the United Kingdom and Ireland (17 per cent)
  • China (8 per cent)
  • New Zealand (7 per cent)
  • India (7 per cent).

Diverse population

Australia has one of the world's most diverse populations, with 60 per cent of population growth coming from net overseas migration. For NSW, this rate is even higher at 66 per cent.

Almost 25 per cent of our workers were born overseas – that's almost 1.8 million people. In addition to skilled workers, NSW attracts international students who want high-quality teaching and qualifications.

Australia is home to the highest proportion of foreign students in its student population of any other OECD country, according to the OECD's Education at a Glance 2013 report, and NSW hosts the lion's share of this number.

Number one for student mobility

In 2013, Switzerland's International Institute for Management Development (IMD) ranked Australia first in the world for inbound student mobility.

This is measured as the number of foreign tertiary-level students per 1,000 inhabitants in IMD's 2013 World Competitiveness Yearbook.

NSW's capital, Sydney, is ranked the fourth most popular city for international students in the 2014 QS Best Student Cities index.

Of the 366,000 international students studying around the country in 2013, more than 128,000 (35 per cent) were enrolled in NSW.