Welcome to the Greater Western Sydney Tool Belt

Nicholas Rupolo •
December 02, 2022

Greater Western Sydney has cemented its place as the city’s Tool Belt, with more than half of all tradies who work in Sydney calling the West home.

The tradie heartland has seen the biggest rise in the number of female workers, with a record increase in female tradies in Western Sydney, according to analysis of the latest Census data by the region’s leading think-tank, the Western Sydney leadership Dialogue.

The 2021 government statistics also reveal Western Sydney’s trade and technical workers are increasingly university educated and enjoying record pay levels.

Adam Leto, Dialogue Executive Director at the Dialogue, said the data showed the “smart hands” of Sydney were making their home in the West.

“This data confirms that Western Sydney’s trade workers – both men and women – are well educated, well qualified and well paid,” Mr Leto said.

“The next generation of tradies are being equipped with both the smarts and the skills to succeed – as well as the traditional chippies or sparkies, these are our coding experts, engineers and heavy machine operators.

“As we see the Western Sydney Airport taking shape and the rise of the new Aerotropolis, as well as other innovation precincts in the region starting to emerge, the need for smart skills is going to be in high demand.

“It’s clear there’s a good career to be had being a tradie, and this data goes a long way towards dispelling some of the out-dated, historic perceptions tied to this kind of work.”

The 2021 Census data shows the number of Western Sydney trade and technical workers with a bachelor’s degree or above increased 29% in the latest census data.

The number of tradies earning $1250 a week and over increased 33%.

While Greater Western Sydney and Greater Sydney saw small drops in the number of tradies recorded in the 2021 census compared the 2016 figures during the COVID lockdowns, Western Sydney’s outer ring suburbs – which includes Camden, Campbelltown, Penrith, The Hills Shire, Blue Mountains and Wollondilly – overall saw an extra 3,169 tradespeople move into the area.

More than 77% of this increase was in Camden, with 2,448 tradies moving into the area – a 44% increase for the suburb.

Analysis of the second tranche of 2021 census data reflects the changing face of the GWS tradie and the emergence of the smart tradie in the Greater Western Sydney Tool Belt:

• there are now 129,569 technicians and trades workers living in Greater Western Sydney, which is 56% of Greater Sydney’s tradies

• 57% of Greater Western Sydney’s tradies live in Blacktown, Canterbury Bankstown, Cumberland, Fairfield, Liverpool and Parramatta

• the number of female technicians and trade workers living in Western Sydney has increased over the past five years, with a 36% increase in the areas of Engineering, ICT and Science

• 15% of GWS technical and trade workers now hold a bachelor’s degree or higher, up 5% from 2016 • of the university qualified trades people in GWS, 74% hold a bachelor’s degree, and 22% hold a Postgraduate degree

• Blacktown has leap-frogged the Northern Beaches and the Inner West to become the Greater Sydney LGA with the third greatest count (25,463) of total residents that hold a Postgraduate qualification, up from 5th in 2016.

• the top five Technical and trade occupations for men in GWS are electricians (11,115), carpenters and joiners (8,859) motor mechanics (8,747) ICT support technicians (7,437) and plumbers (7,111)

• the top technical and trade roles for women in GWS are medical technicians (2,756), hairdressers (2,482), ICT support technicians (1,606) and chefs (1,507)

• The biggest salary jumps for Trade & Technician workers over the past five years was in the $2000-2999 ($104,000-155,999 pa), $1,500-1,749 ($78,000-90,999) and $1,750-1,999 ($91,000-103,000) brackets

For media information Belinda Wallis – Media & Communications Manager

Western Sydney Leadership Dialogue


0466 386 887