Job seekers in NSW are eager to work outside the state: analysis

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Sydney Morning Rush
Office workers walk during morning peak hour in central Sydney October 28, 2009. Reuters/Daniel Munz

New data suggests that tech and finance employees are eager to leave Sydney for other Australian states. A midyear poll has found that one in three people has considered leaving Sydney in the next five years. This is according to a poll of 1,000 Sydney residents done by Ipsos Public Affairs for the Committee for Sydney.

The findings are supported by an analysis of job behaviour, which has found that about nine percent of clicks by science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) job seekers in New South Wales were for jobs advertised outside the state. The analysis was conducted by Callam Pickering, an economist at jobs site Indeed. “By comparison, only six percent of clicks for New South Wales STEM job postings were coming from job seekers living in other states,” he said.

With the exception of South Australia, Pickering said that job seekers in NSW are most likely to search for work interstate. The findings come despite an analysis of the census data by the consultancy SGS E, in which report authors concluded that employment in Sydney is booming.

Pickering recognised that it’s not that tech workers could not get a job in NSW; they’re more than happy to move interstate as long as the right job is available, He added that many highly skilled workers would rather live somewhere else, and when they do move, it’s mostly to regional NSW, Brisbane and Melbourne. “It doesn’t mean they took the job, but it shows the sentiment to move elsewhere is there,” News.com.au quotes him as saying.

Pickering can relate to the sentiment. In 2008, he moved to Sydney for a plumb post in the RBA graduate program. He decided to return to Melbourne in 2012 due to lower cost of living.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ interstate migration figures, a greater number of people are moving out of Sydney than moving in. Some 93,000 Sydneysiders migrated either to regional NSW or interstate in the 2015-16 financial year. This figure is comparable to 70,000 people who moved to Sydney.

Ipsos Public Affairs poll also found that 52 percent, or the majority of people who rent, considered leaving, while 53 percent of 18 to 25-year-olds considered a fresh start somewhere else. The Director of Advocacy at the Committee for Sydney, James Hulme, listed problems with housing affordability and transport infrastructure as main concerns.

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