Briefing paper

Briefing paper 6: employment growth and local occupational structures

Regional planning Employment Labour market Western Australia

This report provides a detailed examination of the role of broader scale changes in the composition of employment, as measured by occupational structure, and localized place-based labor market characteristics to account for employment growth for member of the Western Australian Regional Capitals Alliance (WARCA) over the period 2001-2011. This report is the sixth in a series of reports that are intended to enhance understanding of the growth potential and local competitiveness of the members of WARCA both now and into the future. The evidence presented in this report suggests the following regarding recent changes in the prevailing occupational structures of the WARCA economies:

  • Decomposing the employment structure of WARCA economies by occupation gives results that are broadly consistent with the finding based upon industry structure: economic success depends on both how localities engage with the global economy and the attributes of those local economies.
  • The impact of broader changes in the geography of employment has been an important driver of employment growth across WARCA members.
  • Nonetheless, local competitiveness factors which impact upon the occupational structures are critical to the process of job creation for the members of WARCA.
  • In contrast to the analysis based upon industrial structure, there exists diversity and segmentation of local occupational structures across all WARCA labour markets.
  • The existence of segmented local labor markets highlights the need to have a better understanding of the mobility of workers, both between occupations and between places, skills and education requirements, and the capacity for retention and recruitment.
  • As a corollary, the evidence of labour market segmentation cautions against the tendency to think in terms of policies oriented towards a single integrated or unified local labour market. Policies related to training, attraction and retention all need to be tailored to specific parts of the occupational structure.
  • Regional policy needs to be attuned to how segmented labour market processes affect regions and communities in differential ways.
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