Creative and digital

Creative and digital

Local economic impact

  • Creative sector employs 32,571 people
  • Creative businesses contribute $8.2 billion
  • 24,674 people work in the ICT industry
  • ICT is the third largest business sector

Supporting innovation

The importance of the City's creative industries and digital economy is increasingly being recognised for its contribution to a vibrant and diverse city.

The creative economy and the digital economy are transforming how we work, live and play demonstrated by the size and growth of these important industries within the City of Sydney.

The creative economy

Creative industries include architecture, advertising, design, gaming, broadcasting, music, performing and visual arts, writing and publishing, interactive content and software development.

Businesses within the creative sector contributed a 9% share of the City's economy in 2012 and its current growth rate of 3.4% makes it the fastest growing sector, which is expected in 2030 to account for $14.9 billion.

It is currently the second largest sector within the City representing 8.3% of people employed and there is a higher concentration of creative businesses found in the City than across NSW. Since the 2006 census it has increased by 22% with 5,911 more employees.

The digital economy

Information, communications and technology (ICT) experienced the biggest sector growth in the City since the 2006 census, increasing 23% with 4,557 more people now working in the industry.

It represents 6% of the City's total workforce making it the third largest industry generating about 11% of economic impact across the local area and with an expected 2% increase in industry share will increase its position as a core economic component in 2030 at 13%.

Sydney is the base in Australia for globally connected companies and traditional media. Sydney is home to National Information and Communications Technology Australia (NICTA), the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation's (CISRO) ICT Centre as well as 5 national centres of excellence and 2 cooperative research centres.

Working together

A dynamic and strong digital economy is essential to drive economic growth in Sydney. The need to share success stories and send the message that Sydney is an innovative city is important. We work to generate positive media coverage and continue to coordinate major events focused on internet, innovation and creativity at our City Talks.

The City has worked with numerous businesses to introduce them to potential partners and customers, collaborating with key partners to develop these important industry sectors including:

  • the NSW Government to meet the objectives of the Digital Economy Industry Action Plan and support the development of
  • a wide range of partners including UTS to support establishing a creative and digital precinct under the Innovation Precinct Program
  • the UTS Creative Industry Innovation Centre to support creative businesses and exploring ways to tap into those business advisory services
  • CeBIT Australia, a major ICT business event the City has sponsored since 2011.

Program snapshots

Creative commercial events

Major creative events create opportunities for community and business participation on a broad scale contributing to our economy and cultural life, which the City supports through our commercial creative events sponsorship program.

Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia is the nation's largest fashion industry event delivering over $300 million in media value and $120 million in business revenue each year.

The longstanding Sydney event is positioned alongside global counterparts New York, Miami, Berlin and Tokyo, reinforcing Sydney's status as the fashion capital of Australia.

It is held at Carriageworks, Redfern attracting over 30,000 and 1,000 international buyers, photographers, media and key industry personnel who stay, dine and visit key Sydney sites.

An estimated $2.3 million is spent on operational, marketing, support and production each year that benefits local buinesses and delivers significant tourism benefits to Sydney each year.

Affordable rent for creatives

The City's creative spaces project aims to provide affordable rent for creative enterprises such as business cooperatives and startups.

At 66 Oxford Street, Darlingurst, one of largest City properties, Creative Spaces currently houses Engineroom, a co-working space of entrepreneurs and tech startup businesses.

The William Street creative hub opened in mid-2013 providing 500 square metres of affordable work space for creative co-share organisations in East Sydney.

Going forward

Our current focus is on new, innovative businesses that are using technology and designed for fast growth such as technology startups.

We are looking to support Sydney entrepreneurs creating the global companies of the future.

The City has drafted a tech startups action plan which is packed with ideas for encouraging Sydney’s emerging tech startup community – from creating an entrepreneurship centre, to offering ‘how to code’ classes in local libraries and cutting through planning red tape to encourage more co-working spaces.

The draft plan is now online and Sydney’s entrepreneurs are invited say what they need to thrive in one of the world’s most liveable cities.

The City’s draft tech startups action plan is available to view and comment on at Sydney Your Say until 10 November 2015. You can also join the conversation with #startupsyd


City Talks Digital Economy Industry Action Plan CeBIT Australia Commercial creative events sponsorship program Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Creative Spaces


City of Sydney02 9265 9333

Last updated: Monday, 21 September 2015