Regional Australia brain drain a myth

The myth goes that regional Australia loses its best and brightest to the cities – yet, that’s simply not so.

A new report has found that rather than losing jobs to our capital cities, regional Australia is holding its own in the employment market.

The November report from the Fairfax Employment Network found that regional Australia has maintained its share of Australia’s employment market over the past 15 years, employing over 4.2 million Australians, or 36 per cent of the workforce.

The report’s author, Michael Emerson of the Economic and Market Development Advisors, said that while it may surprise some, job growth in regional areas is actually higher than in Sydney.

“It’s actually an urban myth that capital cities are stealing employment growth from the regions,” said Emerson.

Over 140,000 jobs were added in the year to August 2013. Tasmania had the highest growth rate at 8.6 per cent, while the ACT saw the lowest with just 3.7 per cent. The growth has seen unemployment remain steady at levels below 6 per cent.

The tourism industry grew by 7 per cent in the last year, while the construction and education sectors each grew by almost 3 per cent.

However, the teenage unemployment rate remains high at 16.4 per cent.

“Generation Z have known only difficult conditions since they entered the jobs market at 16, their relative lack of skills and experience being the main drivers for the weak market they find themselves in,” Emerson said.

Despite this figure, the future of the employment market looks bright. The number of jobs is expected to grow by over 190,000 by next August.

Emerson believes this is thanks to the boost to consumer and business confidence delivered by September’s Federal election after a long campaign.

“Interest rates are also at record lows and this is starting to stimulate the non-mining sector, with house prices picking up and job vacancies beginning to grow,” Emerson said.

 

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