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Nearly half of all urban workers would move to regional Australia for a better salary

4 July 2023

  • Regional Australia Institute is launching the biggest regional recruitment drive in Australia’s history
  • There are over 91,000 jobs on offer in the regions equating to $1.7 billion in untapped wages
  • New data shows nearly half of all city workers could be persuaded to move to the regions for a better-paying job with cost-of-living pressures driving job dissatisfaction in all major capital cities

Regional Australia Institute (RAI) is embarking on the nation’s biggest ever recruitment drive to showcase the 91,000 compelling, fulfilling, and well-paying jobs on offer in regional Australia. 

Right now, there are more than $1.7 billion in untapped wages in our regions, with jobs in some of the most idyllic locations Australia has to offer. Filling these vacancies would provide regional Australia with an instant economic boost of more than $1.2 billion.

The demand for regional workers comes at a time when the number of jobs available in capital cities is sharply declining and job dissatisfaction is at an all-time high. 

A recent study commissioned by RAI reveals more than 1 million urban workers are dissatisfied with their job. The main factor driving job dissatisfaction is the fact that salaries are failing to keep up with the soaring cost of city living. 

In a win for the regions, nearly half (46 per cent) of all city workers said a salary increase would persuade them to take a job in regional Australia, with 2 in 5 saying they’d be convinced to move to regional Australia if a financial incentive (e.g. recruitment bonus or relocation payment) was involved.

To support Australians looking for a better-paying regional job, RAI has assembled a coalition of leading industry bodies, large and small business, and local governments to highlight the plethora of opportunities on offer.

RAI’s ‘Move to More’ website has been updated in partnership with SEEK, to host a dedicated jobs page, showcasing every regional opportunity on offer in the one place, making it easier for regionally-curious job seekers to find their dream job.

CEO of the Regional Australia Institute Liz Ritchie says from Kangaroo Island to Kalgoorlie, from Bendigo to Byron Bay, there has never been a better time to take a job in regional Australia.

“There’s never been a more important time for regional Australia’s biggest ever recruitment drive. The “It’s Your Move” is an important initiative within our “Move To More” project, which was established in 2019 to inspire Australians to make the move from the city to our beautiful and prosperous regions.”

“In 2023, regional migration is up 17 per cent and it’s continuing to grow especially as the economic downturn prompts Australians to search for a more affordable lifestyle. While this is encouraging for regional Australia’s population growth, many regions are still catching up when it comes to infrastructure, services and housing. 

“We’re embarking on regional Australia’s biggest ever recruitment drive to encourage Australians to consider a job in regional Australia and help build the skilled workforce to service our hospitals, schools and businesses that keep Australia moving.”     

“A job in regional Australia can offer fast-tracked career progression, life-changing experiences and a compelling salary package.”  

“With a plethora of fulfilling, exciting and meaningful jobs on offer in the regions and the lifestyle to match, now is the time to consider a career in regional Australia.”

Joining forces with RAI is Master Builders, whose Chief Executive Denita Wawn says: “Moving to regional Australia offers tradies the opportunity to tap into a growing market with high housing and infrastructure development demand.”

“Tradies who move to the regions will play a vital role in building the communities of tomorrow and contribute to the economic growth this country desperately needs.”

Tony Mahar, Chief Executive of National Farmers Federation adds: “The career opportunities in agriculture are limitless. There is a job for everyone, and every skill set right now in our farm sector.”

From mustering cattle in the top end to donning a white coat in a lab developing the next drought-resistant wheat variety. If you don’t love your job in the city, think agriculture and think regional Australia.”

Jacqueline Emery, CEO of Royal Far West concludes: “The early years are the most crucial time in every child’s life.  The foundations established in our early years influences the rest of our lives.” 

“Our country kids also face the burden of distance when it comes to finding the support. As Australia’s only national charity dedicated to improving the health and wellbeing of country children, we know that working in rural and remote Australia as an allied health clinician can change a child’s life.”

To find out where your career could take you, visit the Move to More website

For media enquiries contact:

Lydia Bilton
Senior Consultant
Porter Novelli
Ph: 0466 624 420
E: [email protected]

Madeleine Hanley
Media Content Lead
Porter Novelli
Ph: 0423 366 918
E: [email protected]

*YouGov survey of 1,009 Australians aged 18 and above who are working full time and living in a capital city. Fieldwork was undertaken between 19th - 23rd June 2023. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all Australian full time workers living in capital cities (aged 18+).