Our global city
Sydney as a global city
Sydney is one of the world's most multicultural cities. It attracts people from all over the globe, who bring a huge range of languages, cultures, cuisines and ideas.
The population has benefited from an open, extensive, well-attended education system that has produced a highly skilled and educated workforce, enhanced by a high level of social cohesion and political stability.
It hasn't always been this way. Up until the mid 1970s, Sydney remained relatively culturally isolated from its Asian neighbours, drawing migrants initially from Britain and Ireland and then countries from continental Europe in its post-war manufacturing boom – notably Italy, Greece and the former Yugoslavia. This isolation extended economically with relatively high tariff protection barriers to support a strong manufacturing base built upon its exports or primary materials.
In recent years Australia has admitted people from most countries around the world, particularly its Asian neighbours to the north. And like the global economy, Sydney's economy has shifted structurally from agricultural and resource distribution to manufacturing, then to services.
Bank on it
Home to the Australian Stock Exchange and the Futures Exchange, Sydney is the country's dominant financial centre; more than 65% of Australia's trading activity takes place here.
Eight-two per cent of all foreign and domestic banks in Australia have their headquarters in Sydney. Futhermore, Sydney is home to approximately 60% of all Asia-Pacific regional headquarters in Australia; 70% of property and business services regional offices and nearly 75% of all information and communications technologies regional headquarters.
The city has also become highly specialised in legal, accounting and other business services, with more than a third of all Australian employment in legal firms located in Sydney. Recently, it has attracted a high proportion of information technology firms and, as a consequence, dominates Australian employment in internet media design and production. Sydney also has a disproportionately higher percentage of workers in creative industries.
The Sydney metropolitan area has a GDP of approximately $250 billion per year. This is approximately one-quarter of the Australian national GDP and two-thirds of the state's GDP. According to a study by PriceWaterhouse, this annual output would place it about 26th in economic size among the world’s cities and in the top 10 among Asian-Pacific cities.
The Global and World Cities group data inventory compiled by Britain’s Loughborough University found Sydney is the seventh most connected city to the global economy, behind New York, London, Tokyo, Paris, Hong Kong and Singapore.