Understanding Wyndham – The Role of ‘Good Job Prospects’
Recently Dan was invited to speak at a City of Wyndham jobs summit. This blog draws from Dan’s presentation (embedded below) and talks through who lives in Wyndham, how the City is growing and changing, and the role that the provision of ‘good job prospects’ can play in advancing the community’s perception regarding their quality of life.
Who lives in Wyndham?
Almost 300,000 people live in Wyndham, or one out of every 20 Melburnians. For those who are geographically minded, the number of people who make a home in Wyndham is double that of Darwin, 100,000 more than Hobart, greater than Ballarat and Bendigo combined and even smidge higher than Victoria’s largest Regional City, Geelong. While that’s a lot of people in absolute terms, there are some features of this community that make them unique relative to the average Melburnian, including:
- Wyndham residents are younger. The City of Wyndham has a higher proportion of children and a lower proportion of persons aged 60 or older in comparison to Greater Melbourne. About 125,000 residents are aged between 25 and 49.
- More households have mortgages. 46% of households are paying off their home, which is higher than the Greater Melbourne average of 36%. And this, it goes without saying, makes the community particularly sensitive to changes in the mortgage repayment landscape and associated cost of living pressures.
- Couples with dependent children is the dominant household structure. 46% of households are made up of couples with children, compared with 33% in Melbourne.
- Retail Trade is the largest local employer. Wyndham has more than twice as many jobs in Transport, Postal and Warehousing relative to Greater Melbourne (13% vs 6%) and half as many in Professional, Scientific and Technical Services (4% vs 11%).
Is Wyndham still growing?
It sure is. The number of people living in Wyndham has increased by about 180,000 since 2006, with small areas like Truganina, Williams Landing, Laverton North and Tarneit responsible for most of the growth. When we examine year-on-year percentage change in population for Wyndham compared to Greater Melbourne since 2007, it shows that this LGA has absorbed a larger share of all growth over that time. Importantly, Wyndham even grew in 2021, the year Melbourne went backwards.
How is Wyndham changing demographically?
While absolute change is interesting, a more nuanced examination of composition change is instructive. One way we can understand how Wydnham is changing relates to the share of adults with formal qualifications. Twenty years ago 8% of Wyndham adults were degree level qualified, compared to 16% across Greater Melbourne. By 2016, the absolute share of degree qualified residents had tripled in absolute terms to 24% and the relative gap between those in the Wyndham community and the Greater Melbourne average had substantially contracted.
While we’re yet to see the data from the 2021 Census, there no reason to think that Wyndham won’t have at least kept pace – or even overtaken – Melbourne in this regard.
But what about the community’s views – what role do good job prospects play in making somewhere a good place to live?
To this point we’ve established that Wyndham is over-represented in Transport, Postal and Warehousing jobs and under-represented in Professional, Scientific and Technical jobs relative to the Greater Melbourne average.
We’ve also learned that Wyndham’s population continues to grow and that its residents are achieving higher levels of formal qualification and that, perhaps in response to both of those things, Wyndham’s local economy and the local jobs within that economy, have expanded.
But how important are good job prospects to people when they’re thinking about what makes somewhere a good place to live, and what role does the availability of good job prospects play in advancing quality of life?
The chart below is drawn from the Living in Place community survey we deploy with councils to inform, monitor and evaluate local government strategic planning and advocacy. The data informing the chart was collected in May 2022 and represents the perspectives of people across Greater Melbourne.
It shows us that while Melburnians nominate feeling safe and high quality health services as the two most important attributes that contribute towards making somewhere a good place to live, the provision of good job prospects comes in 7th from the list of 16 attributes deployed in the survey. And, despite being among the most important items that Melburnians believe make somewhere a good place to live, local area experiences of good job prospects were quite poor in comparison to the other items, with residents rating their local area an average of 5.9 out of 10.
This combination of high importance and relatively poor experiences determines that local policy efforts should be focused on increasing the availability of good job prospects consummate with the skills and need of the local area residents. In theory, increasing the availability of appropriate local jobs will result in the community reporting more positive local area experiences in that regard which will, by extension, contribute to advancing residents’ perception regarding their quality of life in the macro – which is reflected in the Overall Liveability Index you can see at the top of the chart.
What are the key takeaways?
- Wyndham is still young, still growing and as a result the community is more vulnerable to macro-economic changes that impact energy, fuel and mortgage pricing.
- Wyndham’s residents are becoming better educated, and while there has been growth in local jobs in recent years, there is opportunity and demand for more local knowledge economy jobs that reflect residents’ growing skillsets.
- While improving the provision of good job prospects in Wyndham will make a positive contribution to advancing residents’ perception regarding their quality of life, and other things like feeling safe and high quality health services will always be more important to people when they’re thinking about what makes somewhere a good place to live, a sustained expansion of the local jobs should, over the long term, deliver a knock-on effect that places downward pressure – albeit slight and incremental – on residents’ views regarding a lack road congestion and the provision of reliable and efficient public transport – two attributes we know that communities from growth areas place a very high value on yet report poor local area experiences.
Living in Wyndham by .id (informed decisions)