A world of experience
Traditionally, the regional job market has been skewed towards resources (mining) and industries (construction). A change in economic factors over the last decade has seen a shift to a higher demand for professionals.
The Regional Australia Institute (RAI) recently reported regional job opportunities hit an all-time high, with more than 66,200 jobs available in regional towns and cities across Australia. This accounts for nearly one third of all vacancies throughout the country.
Throw in a pandemic, and the result is more and more people enticed to move to the country.
That said, regional areas are often thought to have limited career opportunities, especially for women.
The combination of improved economic conditions, expanding infrastructure, a change in living habits and perceived values have challenged this perception, with regional or remote work now seen to offer a diverse range of career experiences, support networks and perspectives that can really catapult your career.
Here we speak to Sarah Simpson - who holds a management position in regional Victoria - to find out first-hand the opportunities – not limitations- working regional can bring.
Passionate about providing exceptional service and with a keen interest in safety and risk management, it’s no wonder Sarah’s family business has been in operation for 65 years.
Having grown up in the high country of Victoria in the regional town of Alexandra, Sarah went on to spend a lengthy amount of time away, before returning to the town about 15 years ago. With the gorgeous and ever popular Lake Eildon not too far from home, Sarah enjoys kayaking, cooking, and travelling when she can.
Sarah had a Bachelor of Business and a career in hotel management and catering in Australia and Europe under her belt, before joining the family business, I & M Simpson & Son in 2017 to expand her horizons.
What is your job title and can you give a little insight into what a day in the life of Sarah Simpson looks like?
I am a manager in the family business, I & M Simpson & Son (Simpsons Fuel). Each day is different, I’m fortunate that my role gives me lots of variety.
On a typical day, I usually start by checking in with our retail sites and problem solving any issues, ordering stock and ensuring all the books are in order. I then focus on our safety and compliance documentation and also manage our social media, and reporting. I usually have a large project or two underway too. For example, I recently oversaw the major renovation of our Eildon petrol station.
DEBUNK: People think living in regional areas can limit your career opportunities, especially for women. As a female leader based in Alexandra, Victoria - a small town with 3,000 people – what’s your view on this?
The amount of managerial roles in regional areas can be less, however on the flip side people tend to stay in these types of roles longer.
So while the opportunity to get into a position could be more difficult than in the city where there’s a greater volume of roles and turnover, once a role is secured, I do feel regional businesses do more to invest in and retain their female leaders.
Working in regional areas can mean working in industries and environments you mightn’t have thought you’d end up in; this provides the opportunity to access and experience a greater variety of knowledge and build a broader skill-set. These things can help set you up for deeper management roles and a larger variety of roles – expanding your career choices.
Regional workplaces also offer second to none workplace flexibility and support. Often there are good, solid support networks for working families in our community.