What jobs are available in regional Australia and where are they?

The latest Census data released in November shows an increase in the number of jobs available over the last 10 years. It also demonstrates a change in the types of jobs available.

In the last decade, the number of workers in Australia has increased by 17.4 per cent to over 10 million.

Nationally in the last five years, an additional 628,000 jobs were created, and the working age population grew by 1 million. Importantly 108,525 of those new jobs were created in regional Australia.

With growth in these areas, we have also seen a change in the types of jobs available.

In regional Australia, across the four regional types (shown in the graphic below), the data reveals an increase in service industry jobs such as health, education, financial services and professional services. Additionally, we have seen a decline in traditional industry jobs, including agriculture and manufacturing.

It is interesting to note that regional Australia and metropolitan areas have the same changing job profile, despite common misconceptions linking service industry jobs primarily to metro, and traditional sector jobs to the regions.

The two biggest growth industries for both regional and metro areas in the last decade were mining and health. Mining grew by a whopping 66.8 per cent, creating 39,567 new jobs with 62 per cent of its workforce located in regions.

Health grew 41 per cent nationally, creating an additional 389,063 jobs. Of those jobs, 38 per cent were in regional areas. This means for every new mining job created, 5.5 new health and social assistance jobs were generated.

Huge growth in the health industry has meant that in 2016, regional Australia had two health services jobs for every farm job.

Furthermore, the Census data shows the increase in service sector jobs has changed the industry structure of the national economy.

In 2016, the service sector employed 3.37 million people nationally, or 32 per cent of the workforce, while traditional jobs employed only 680,000 people, or 6.5 per cent of Australian workers.

The service sector now employs over 1 million workers in regional Australia. Of the four regional types, Regional Cities have led regional growth in the service sector, with an increase of 4.3 per cent, followed by Industry and Service Hubs and Connected Lifestyle Regions. 

The decline in traditional sector jobs can be attributed to the shedding of jobs in manufacturing and agricultural industries. Over the last decade, 30 per cent of manufacturing jobs have been lost and 5 percent in agriculture.

In the last 10 years, we have seen a shift in the industries where jobs are available. Every region offers different opportunities, but the raw numbers indicate you would have had more success finding new employment if you worked in a services industry and were based in a regional city.