Conference paper

Skilled workers in Ballarat and Bendigo: why did they choose a regional location and are they likely to stay?

Regional planning Human capital Ballarat Bendigo
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apo-nid178231.docx 1.15 MB

Capital cities like Melbourne continue to attract the majority of State population growth. This can create challenges for attracting skilled workers to, and retaining them in, regional locations. This paper reports on a survey of more than 1200 professional workers in the Victorian regional cities of Bendigo and Ballarat. The survey aimed to better understand the migration pathways and locational choices of these workers, focusing on their location at four key life stages: birth; childhood; secondary schooling; and higher education. Key motivations for choosing to live in the current location were explored along with respondents’ views on the advantages and disadvantages of that regional location. While most respondents had no intention to move away from their regional city, others were finding that career and salary progression were limited in the smaller regional economies, particularly when compared to Melbourne. Respondent age influenced the relative importance given to economic versus lifestyle considerations. Overall though, it was family factors, more than economic or amenity considerations, which were the main driver of relocation to regional cities. These findings are of relevance to policy makers concerned with attraction and retention strategies for regional areas as well as businesses seeking to recruit or retain key workers.

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