Media Release
Annual pulse check of Sydney’s top leaders reveals Covid fixes firming up, with urgent call to drive vaccine uptake
25 August, 2021

Media contact

Matt Levinson

A survey of more than 130 major Sydney organisations, employing almost a quarter of a million Sydney workers, shows temporary fixes firming into long-term workplace change, with growing calls for government to take stronger action to drive vaccine uptake.

The Committee for Sydney’s annual Sydney Leadership Survey, distributed August 6, was completed by 201 senior leaders from 131 organisations that collectively employ 240,000 Sydneysiders and 640,000 nationwide.

Gabriel Metcalf, CEO of the Committee for Sydney, said: “Our survey results highlight how a year and a half of dealing with Covid-19 has changed the thinking of leading organisations in Sydney – and how senior leaders think the pandemic and broader economy should be handled going forward.”

“One of the strongest messages we’ve heard is business leaders are ready to roll up their sleeves and start vaccinating their staff on-site, and even require it of employees – they’re just waiting for Government to say the word.

“They strongly support the introduction of an immunity passport system that would allow vaccinated people to enter bars, restaurants, shops, public transport, schools and indoor workplaces.”

When asked about the most effective steps to reopen and recover from the Covid-19 lockdown:

  • 88% of organisations support asking major employers to vaccinate their staff on-site, with 76% support for encouraging employers to mandate vaccination of staff
  • 94% support reopening of schools, including fast-tracking vaccination of teachers and staff
  • 96% support immunity passports, with 91% support for requiring vaccination to enter bars, restaurants, shops, public transport, schools and indoor workplaces
  • 83% support letting fully vaccinated people in and out of the country without hotel quarantine
  • 55% support broad based mandating of vaccines for eligible people, with 33% opposing the measure
  • 96% support continued fiscal stimulus, with 97% support for expanded income support – with a mixed responses on cash payments or vouchers.

When asked about the future of their workplaces:

  • 82% expect to have more staff working remotely, although 21% plan to encourage their staff to be in the office full time
  • 36% expect to bring staff together when there’s a good reason for it, while just 2% expect to be fully remote
  • 51% expect workers to be in 3 days a week, 23% say it will be 4 days a week
  • 36% expect staff to cluster their workdays Tuesday to Thursday, while 27% expect it to be spread across the work week.

Gabriel Metcalf, CEO of the Committee for Sydney, said: “Our members think the best kind of stimulus right now is investment in infrastructure and it should be a priority for both state government and the Commonwealth.

“This means continuing to fund big city-shaping projects – Metro, fast rail to Newcastle, a Greater Sydney bike network, with a transport mode target to guide future funding and space allocations – but they also want smaller projects such as a fund to help councils improve neighbourhood high streets.

“Most members support the adoption of a net zero emissions target, with legislation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from each sector of the economy – our members see tremendous opportunities for innovation and economic growth in the transition to net zero.

“Investing in social and affordable housing is also seen as a win-win policy. It helps to produce more housing for people on low-income, whilst helping the construction industry back on its feet and supporting tradies.

“Four out of five of our members expect they will permanently have more people working from home in the post-Covid world. That will continue to pose profound challenges for Sydney’s business districts, and indeed all our town centres.”

See the full Sydney Leadership Survey 2021 results here:

For interviews or more information, please contact Matt Levinson: 0499 319 385

Notes: The Committee for Sydney is the peak advocacy and urban policy think tank for Greater Sydney. We are advocates for the whole of Sydney, developing pragmatic and innovative solutions to the most important problems we face. We are funded by a more than 150 of Sydney’s leading corporations, government departments and cultural institutions. Our goal is to make Sydney the best city in the world.

Each year, the Committee for Sydney surveys its members to understand what matters to leaders across our city, and how we can work together on the most important issues facing Sydney. More than 80% of our members rate the Committee’s research, advocacy and events as strong or very strong.