This is the message that the Evocities
– comprised of Albury, Armidale, Bathurst, Dubbo, Orange, Tamworth and Wagga Wagga – are keen to share, in an effort to encourage big city dwellers to live, work and invest in an “Evocity”, so named because the cities are centres of ‘Energy, Vision and Opportunity’.
According to HR consultant Melanie Luck, regional businesses “generally have a very loyal customer base and the ‘mates supporting mates’ ethos is much more prevalent than in the city”.
“Many regional businesses also benefit from boomerang employees, who head to the city to study or develop their experience, but then relocate back to their hometown to raise their children. They bring back with them a depth of experience and ideas gained from the large corporate entities,” she said.
However, sourcing candidates for unique or high-level roles can be challenging, Luck warned, a sentiment backed up by Albury business owner Jenny Dimitrovski, who returned to her hometown to establish Geoffrey Michael Patisserie
after five years in Melbourne.
“Job-ready people were difficult to find. While they may have had formal qualifications, they didn’t necessarily have the skillsets and the qualities we were looking for,” Dimitrovski said.
“I’m a qualified workplace training and assessor, so now that I’ve got my eyes open to the fact that we’re not likely to find staff who want to be here for many, many years, I know I need to manage turnover more effectively.”
Salaries in regional businesses can be marginally lower than in the city, Luck added, although “with a smaller candidate pool to source from or the need to attract high level talent – particularly the C suite – from the city, salaries are almost on par with the city,” she said.
Forget Sydney and Melbourne: for potential cost savings, shorter commutes and a better work-life balance, your company should be based in a major regional city.