Chinatown and CBD South

The village encompasses the southern half of Sydney’s city centre, and consequently the majority of employment is in the financial and professional services categories.

The share of workers in food and drink businesses, supported by the local worker, resident and tourists markets, is also significant. The dominance of finance and professional services workers leads to high average incomes.

Furthermore, the strong public transport accessibility results in a low car dependence of workers, with workers coming from a wide variety of locations.

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Employment by industry

Table 9 summarises employment in the village by each of the city-based industry sectors. Typical of a city centre location, the 2 largest industries of employment include finance and financial services and professional and business services, which employ 18.0% and 13.5% of the workforce respectively. 

The village also has a large share of government employees as well as those in food and drink businesses which are supported by the strong office worker market.

Table 9 – Employment by City-Based Industry Sector, 2012

Sector Employment % of Total Employment


1,214 2.1%

Creative Industries

2,120 3.6%

Finance & Financial Services

10,627 18.0%

Food & Drink

6,125 10.4%


6,806 11.5%


950 1.6%

Higher Education & Research

2,943 5.0%


5,369 9.1%

Life Science (Bio-Tech)

205 0.3%


40 0.1%

Motor Vehicle

13 0.0%

Natural Resource-Based Industries

4 0.0%

Professional & Business Services

7,967 13.5%

Property Development & Operation

857 1.4%

Retail & Personal Services

4,339 7.3%

Social Capital

1,377 2.3%

Tourist, Cultural & Leisure

3,683 6.2%

Transport & Logistics

3,829 6.5%


426 0.7%


276 0.5%


59,170 100.0%

Source: Floor Space and Employmen – City of Sydney

Income of workers

Journey to Work data produced by the Australian Bureau of Statistics can be analysed to show the annual personal income of those who work in Chinatown and CBD South.

Due to the large proportion of finance and professional services workers, average incomes tend to be high. There is a large share of the workforce with personal incomes in the $78,000 to $103,999 and $104,000+ income brackets, which together account for 40% of all workers in the village.

Chart 5 – Workers' Personal Income (Annual)

Chart 5 – Workers' Personal Income (Annual)

Workers’ place of residence

As depicted in Chart 6, the most common council area of residence for village workers was the City of Sydney, which accommodated 13% of the total workforce. While this may seem high, it is a lower proportion than many other villages within the City of Sydney.

The high accessibility of the village by public transport facilitates workers travelling from a wide variety of locations, including Randwick (5%), Sutherland Shire (4%) and Blacktown (4%)

Chart 6 – Workers’ LGA of Residence (Top 10), 2011

Chart 6 – Workers’ LGA of Residence (Top 10), 2011   

Workers’ mode of transport

As shown in Chart 7, the village’s high accessibility by public transport encourages a high utilisation of this mode of transport. The proportion of workers in the village who use trains is significantly above the City of Sydney local area and Metro Sydney averages, with 38% of workers using this mode of transport. A further 16% of workers use buses to get to and from work, only slightly below the City of Sydney local area average.

Meanwhile only 19% of the workforce used cars to get to work, significantly below the City of Sydney local area and Metro Sydney averages. This was facilitated by the excellent public transport infrastructure, as well as relative scarcity of parking spaces in the village.

Chart 7 – Worker's Mode of Transport

Chart 7 - Worker Mode of Transport

Location of workers

Figure 10 shows the density of employment by block throughout the village. It shows that employment density is high throughout the entire village due to the dominance of high-rise office buildings throughout most of the village. The areas around Darling Harbour and Central Station have a lower employment density due to the lower density of development in these areas.

Figure 10 – Employment Density

Figure 10 – Employment Density

What does this mean for my business?

As with local residents, local workers can be a key source of revenue for many businesses. The presence of a significant population of finance and professional service workers provides opportunities to tap into a highly-paid workforce with a significant level of disposable income. These workers appear to be spread throughout the village, providing significant opportunities for local businesses to benefit from their presence. The types of businesses likely to benefit most are those who service the daytime population (for example cafés, convenience stores, dry cleaners and so on) as well as those that provide after-hours destinations, including bars and restaurants.

From an employer’s perspective, the village’s central location and accessibility by public transport makes it a desirable location for workers of many demographics. The significant student population is also beneficial for businesses that rely on casual employees, as students are generally looking for flexible working arrangements outside of school hours.


This information has been compiled from various sources. The publisher and contributors accept no responsibility for any injury, loss or damage arising from the use, error or omissions therein. While all care is taken to ensure a high degree of accuracy, users are invited to notify the City of Sydney of any discrepancies. No part of this information, including maps or data, may be reproduced without written permission.

Last updated: Tuesday, 16 June 2015