Skip to main content

Record regional job vacancies; skills shortages widen city-country divide and put a handbrake on growth

October 7 2022

Almost one third of advertised job vacancies are in regional Australia, according to this week’s National Skills Commission (NSC) data.

Regional Australia Institute (RAI) CEO Liz Ritchie said August data shows 309,000 job advertisements nationally of which 91,000 are in the regions.

“When accounting for unadvertised jobs, which are often low-skilled, temporary positions, we know this number could be doubled or even tripled,” Liz Ritchie said.

The NSC’s Skills Priority List identifies national shortages across 286 occupations, up from 153 in 2021.

The most pronounced national shortages are in the areas of health care, trades; machinery operators and personal services such as aged care and childcare workers.

The shortages in these skills are biting hard in regional Australia and if left unaddressed threaten to widen the gap between city and country and see the regions miss out on valuable opportunities. Two thirds of the regional vacancies are for managerial, professional, and qualified trades positions. The impact of the lack of skilled workers makes for stark reading.

About 3.7 million regional Australians live in a regional childcare desert. When it comes to access to a doctor, there are about 328 full time equivalent GPs for every 100,000 people in the regions compared to an average of 465 FTE GPs in our capital cities.

Ms Ritchie said a shortage of builders, plumbers, electricians, machinery operators and labourers was constraining badly needed developments such as new housing projects and putting a handbrake on productivity growth.

Addressing regional Australia’s unprecedented jobs and skills gap is a key aim of the RAI’s Regionalisation Ambition 2032 – A Framework to Rebalance the Nation, launched last month.

The Framework includes a goal to reduce recruitment difficulty to below 40 percent, down from 70 percent today and to increase the share of skilled workers employed in regional Australia to 80 percent up from 73 precent in 2022.
“The key to addressing the region’s labour difficulties is to increase the overall number of people making a living in the regions,” Ms Ritchie said.

The RAI wants to see a doubling of the proportion of new migrants settling in regional Australia by 2032, and a national population plan to chart a pathway to lift the regions overall population to 11 million, up from 9.5 million today.

The RAI’s most recent More Jobs; More Opportunities campaign is promoting the career opportunities outside city bounds to urban Australians who might be considering a regional move.

“Now more than ever, Australians moving to the regions can not only benefit from an improved lifestyle with more time and more value but also enjoy a rewarding regionally-based career.

“We welcome today’s meeting of federal, state and territory skills and training ministers and hope the plight of jobs and skills in regional Australia is given adequate attention,” Ms Ritchie said.

You can read the full Regional Job Vacancies update here.

 For media enquiries contact:

Alexandra Macaulay
Regional Australia Institute
0409 652 465
[email protected]