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Skilled professionals swap rat race for bush bliss

Skilled professionals are leaving the big smoke for a bush change, taking advantage of technology and the work-from-home era.

A white collar job doesn’t seem compatible with wide open spaces but remote working options are increasingly tempting city slickers with a tree change, according to industry insiders.

Amy Dawe at home in Young, with her children, 4-year-old Cooper, 3-year-old Archie and 1-year-old Amelia. She runs a virtual assistant business from home.
media_cameraAmy Dawe at home in Young, with her children, 4-year-old Cooper, 3-year-old Archie and 1-year-old Amelia. She runs a virtual assistant business from home.

Regional NSW job vacancies excluding Sydney dropped 30.8 per cent in the June quarter this year, with jobs for “well-paid mid to high-skilled professionals and trade jobs” in highest demand, according to the Regional Australia Institute.

Jobs in Dubbo and western NSW had 27 per cent increase in vacancies in July 2020 compared with July 2019 while on the NSW North Coast vacancies rose 9 per cent compared with last year, the new RAI data revealed.

Huntsman Recruiting managing director Rhyley Hunt has seen inquiries into regional positions double in the past six weeks at his Wagga Wagga-based recruitment company.

Fielding offers from Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra jobseekers, Mr Hunt said the pandemic had “opened people’s eyes” to the benefits of country life and work.

“People are looking to get out of cities, they’re re-evaluating what they want out of life and that seems to be a quieter, more relaxed lifestyle,” he said.

“The pandemic has decentralised businesses away from office environments, and people can work remotely from rural areas just as well as they can in the city.

“Plus there’s cheaper rents, the community spirit and the landscape itself … it’s the best of both worlds.”

Bush Summit panellist and Birdsnest CEO and founder Jane Cay made the move back to her hometown of Cooma in 2004 and built her flourishing clothing retail business in the town of 6000 people.

Rhyley Hunter, from Huntsman recruiting, in Wagga Wagga. Picture: Brad Newman
media_cameraRhyley Hunter, from Huntsman recruiting, in Wagga Wagga. Picture: Brad Newman

Ms Cay works with several colleagues remotely and said rural living offered employees with flexible working options “life in the slow lane but work in the fast lane”.

“Technology gives us the ability to run a business or work from anywhere as long as you’ve got a stable internet connection,” Ms Cay said.

“As employers we traditionally think we have to keep our team together in an office but you can actually work more effectively, productively and happily … more regionalisation of the workforce takes the pressure off metro environments and gives rural towns the chance to thrive when people invest and build a life in the country.”

But for those making a tree change and looking for a locally based role, NSW Mining director of public affairs Scott Keenan said there were jobs aplenty in rural industries for a variety of skill sets.

Mr Keenan said a range of mining projects in the pipeline could offer “high-end and long-term” jobs for thousands of regional workers.

“There’s a range of jobs inside and outside the mine, from maintenance to engineering, science or technology, plus data safety and environmental science and a whole range of support service providers to make sure a mine operates safely,” Mr Keenan said.

“A large number of gold, copper and metals projects are due to come online across NSW, which means more opportunities for people to live and work in regional areas in good solid jobs with plenty of future potential.”

Businesswoman and mum-of-three Amy Dawe runs her nationwide virtual assistant company The Office Lady from her home in Young, NSW.

Ms Dawe, 27, said she wouldn’t change her country office “for the world” and technology’s “opportunities” meant she could work a corporate job with ease.

“Both areas come with their positives but I just love the country lifestyle,” she said.

Source: Daily Telegraph

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