Demand for workers in regional Victoria remains strong

Labour market statistics for regional Victoria.

Regional Victoria labour market statistics

More than 75,000 new workers are expected in regional Victoria by 2026, 60.7% of whom will require higher-order skills.

Barwon, Central Highlands, Gippsland and Loddon Campaspe regions are forecast to account for around two-thirds of the new workers expected. Across regional Victoria, health care and social assistance, accommodation and food services, and education and training are forecast to need the highest number of new workers by 2026 – 22,600, 8,900 and 7,100 workers respectively.

In all regions, health care and social assistance account for the highest proportion of new workers expected by 2026. However, there are region-specific growth industries. For example, a relatively higher proportion of new workers is expected in regions:

  • agriculture in Great South Coast, Wimmera Southern Mallee and Mallee
  • education and training in Barwon and Central Highlands
  • accommodation and food services in Ovens Murray
  • construction in Barwon, Central Highlands and Goulburn.

Ageing and disability carers, registered nurses and general clerks are in the top five occupations in demand across all regional areas. Livestock farmers are also in the top five occupations in demand for five of the nine regions:

  • Gippsland
  • Great South Coast
  • Loddon Campaspe
  • Mallee
  • Wimmera Southern Mallee.

Regional Victoria is well-placed to benefit from the state’s transition to renewable energy. The transition is anticipated to increase gross state product by $9.5 billion and create 59,000 jobs – including 6,000 trainees and apprenticeships in solar, wind and emerging energy industries (Victorian Government (2023), (opens in a new window)SEC fast facts).

The State Electricity Commission (SEC), together with the $480 million investment from the Renewable Energy Zone Fund (Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action (2023) Renewable Energy Zones(opens in a new window)) will also contribute to employment growth in regional Victoria. The Latrobe Valley currently hosts the headquarters of Solar Victoria and will become the home of the SEC.

The impact and opportunities of the transition will differ across regional Victoria, depending on suitability of project sites, the available local industry and skilled workers and the buy-in of the community (Department of Jobs, Skills, Industry and Regions (2023), Clean Economy Workforce Development Strategy 2022 to 2033(opens in a new window)).

Victoria’s regional TAFE Network providers are anchor institutions for education and training in their region and are key players in supporting regional development, including in manufacturing and building and construction which will need to grow to support energy and other infrastructure. TAFE Network providers also train people in industries which service a growing population, such as education, health and hospitality.

Regional Victoria labour market statistics, May 2023

  • 850,000 workers or 24% of Victoria’s employment
  • 62,000 jobs created in the past 12 months
  • 3.1% unemployment rate, lower than the 4.1% for metropolitan Melbourne
  • 63.1% labour force participation rate.

Barwon accounts for the highest proportion of employment at 22%, with Gippsland at 16.3%, Loddon Campaspe at 14.9%, Central Highlands at 12.1%, Goulburn at 9.5%, Ovens Murray at 8.9%, Great South Coast at 7.2%, Mallee at 5.9% and Wimmera Southern Mallee at 3.1%.