A Census snapshot of the Hills LGA (NSW)

Thursday, July 13, 2017

The results from the national Census give a fascinating snapshot of life in The Hills LGA. The boundaries of The Hills local government area have changed only slightly since the 2011 Census allowing interesting comparisons of how we have changed over half a decade.

Changing households

Homes in The Hills contain slightly more people now (3.2 on average compared to 3.1 in 2011), and two in three have four or more bedrooms compared to just one in three nationally. However they are less likely to be a detached house than 5 years ago (82.4% compared to 84.1% in 2011) and less likely to be owned outright (34.5%, down from 36% in 2011). The costs of housing have been outstripping earnings with rents up 25% since 2011 but average household incomes only up 16%.

Culturally diverse

When compared to the national findings, local households are 35% more likely to be couple families with children, 34% more likely to have at least two cars, and 33% more likely to have at least one parent born overseas. Interestingly more Hills residents report their ancestry as English than Australian, even though only 3.3% of locals were born in England. In fact more people in the Hills were born in China (5.1%) and India (3.6%) than England, with South Korea and South Africa rounding out the top 5 for those born overseas. One in three residents speaks a language other than English at home, with that now most likely to be Mandarin, which has just overtaken Cantonese, showing the more recent migration patterns from mainland China.

Religious affiliations

While locals most commonly identify their religion as Christianity (64.8%), it has declined, while Hinduism has seen the biggest increase, from 3.1% in 2011 to 4.5% now. Of the 650 suburbs in Sydney, Castle Hill has the most number of Anglicans at 5,748 which places it 4th largest nationally for Anglicans.

Age of residents 

The Shire continues to have a younger profile than the rest of Australia with more people under 20 and less people over 65 than the national average. However while 2011 showed a deficit of 30-34 year olds locally compared to the state and national average, this latest data shows a surplus of 35-39 year olds indicating that while those in their twenties and early thirties do leave the Hills, it seems as if they also boomerang on back.

Hills Business Performance Sentiment Index

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

On Friday in conjunction with The Hills Shire Council and the Sydney Hills Business Chamber, we released the Hills Business Performance Sentiment Index which gives an ongoing measure of the local economic conditions and business confidence. 

This study, now in its third year is very important in an entrepreneurial hotspot like the Hills, which is home to more than 20,000 businesses and almost 100,000 employees. 

The area is also strong with start-ups, which are expanding the local economy. Every week in the Hills, 15 new businesses commence operations and with the new transport infrastructure, commercial constructions and emerging urban centres, the number of new business start-ups locally will likely accelerate.

This year’s results highlight the challenging conditions local businesses are currently experiencing. The overall rating this year is lower than last year although the forward forecast remains strong. The current economic conditions are subdued and business expenses are up, yet such is the way of Australian entrepreneurs, their sentiment and outlook is decidedly positive.

Of the 21 measures, the two that scored the lowest, highlighting the biggest challenges, were the increasing business costs and the local infrastructure challenges. The highest two scores indicated that revenue forecasts for the six months ahead will rise and that local businesses forecast they will take on more staff this year. Therefore, the flat domestic economy, issues from under-construction local infrastructure and higher costs to revenue metrics are all viewed as temporary, though challenging circumstances.

Our thanks go to The Hills Shire Council and the Sydney Hills Business Chamber who recognise the importance of this Business Performance Sentiment Index in a growing local economy, amidst volatile times and facing massive change. Their foresight to commission such a project, commitment to its ongoing deployment and generosity in making it freely available to the business community is to be heartily commended.

Download the full report here.

Click below to view the previous Hills PSI Reports

Understanding and supporting business in the Hills Shire: The second Hills Shire Business PSI

Thursday, May 12, 2016

2016 marks the second Hills Shire edition of the Business PSI, a tracking index created by McCrindle to measure business conditions, performance, and sentiment through a survey of businesses residing in the Hills Shire area. The Business PSI can be used across local governments and regions to better understand and support local business.

The Sydney Hills population is growing 20% faster than the national average (1.9% p.a. compared to 1.6% p.a.) at 169,872 people each year, with average households being significantly larger than the national average (3.1 compared to 2.6 people per household) and home to a higher proportion of students, university educated adults and full time workers than the national and state averages.

The Hills Shire Business PSI is an important measure for an area that relies so heavily on small business as a driver of the local economy. The 2016 survey was conducted 6 months on from the initial survey and captures the constant change in the Hills Shire region.

Download the full report here.

Businesses expanding and growing in the Hills Shire

The results from 2016 show that the business environment is more positive 6 months on from the last survey with sentiment being significantly improved from last year. Businesses are expanding and projected to expand even more in the next 6 months, with business owners seeing this not only as a physical expansion but also due to increases in staffing levels, as the region continues to grow.

Business owners more positive about national economic conditions

Business owners perceive the economic conditions of our nation to be considerably better than 6 months ago with conditions expected to improve even more over the next 6 months. This increase was also reflected in perceptions of the local economic conditions.

New Additions to the PSI survey

The Net Promoter Score was introduced in 2016 as a measure of how likely business owners and managers are to recommend doing business in The Hills Shire to a friend or colleague. 78% indicated that they would probably or definitely recommend The Hills Shire as a place to do business to a friend or colleague, showing high levels of engagement.

Chairman of the Sydney Hills Business Chamber, Anthony Moss, in partnership with the Hills Shire Council, commissioned the Business PSI to measure the pulse of the Hills Shire. “The Business PSI survey results reflect a true snapshot of business in the region. We are thankful for those who completed the survey, including individuals representing businesses of all sizes including, medium to large (20+ staff), small (5-19 staff), micro (1-5 staff) and non-employing businesses.”

Hills Shire Council Mayor Dr Michelle Burns endorses the PSI tool. “The Sydney Hills Business Chamber and the team at McCrindle Research have done another fantastic job at measuring the sentiment of businesses in The Hills. It’s great to hear that the sentiment is generally improving – however it’s unsurprising that the main frustration of businesses is infrastructure.”

The results of the 2nd Hills Shire Business PSI were presented on 11 May 2016 at the Castle Hill RSL and are available for download via the Sydney Hills Business Chamber website.


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