26 November 2020



As many as three quarters of local businesses have had difficulty finding suitable staff according to survey results released by Regional Development Australia Murray today. RDA Murray is collaborating in a National ‘Regions with More Jobs than People’ Group lead by RDA Riverina.

RDA Muray replicated RDA Riverina survey questions to collect evidence and foster investment in workforce development in the region as more and more businesses raise their staffing needs as their most pressing issues recovering from the Border Closure, drought, bushfires and COVID restrictions.

Businesses of all sizes, from right across the region and a wide range of industries reported having an average of 4.5 unfilled positions, with the vacancies having a major impact on productivity, workloads and stress levels.

The RDA Murray survey found:

  • 76.19% of businesses have had difficulty finding suitable staff
  • 68.75% of respondents say their vacancies are due to a lack of qualified candidates and 62.5% cited a lack of experienced candidates

As a result of unfilled positions:

  • 82.35% of businesses had suffered decreased productivity
  • 70.59% had an increased workload for available staff
  • 64.71% had a decreased capacity to take on new work
  • 58.82% of owners/managers experienced increased stress

The survey results also support Regional Australia Institute figures released this week which show over 17,452 jobs in Regional NSW were advertised online in October 2020, an increase of 35.3% on the same time last year.

Edwina Hayes; CEO of Regional Development Australia Murray Inc, which covers an area from the Snowy Valleys to the South Australian border in NSW, said the results demonstrated there are many and varied jobs in regional areas. “The data confirms what business owners, employment agencies and regional leaders have been telling us.”

Mrs Hayes said: “With our state borders reopening, and our agricultural and construction sectors booming this is a hugely important time for local businesses. We conducted this survey to help us build a case to address the issues local businesses are facing and generate interest and people coming to the Murray.”

“I think there is an incredible opportunity for people to move to the region and experience the freedom of a country lifestyle, picking up great jobs in highly supportive and welcoming communities. Our survey shows job vacancies across a broad range of measures as you get away from big cities.”

“A lot of my day to day role is around connecting our region with economic development opportunities and providing the government with local intelligence on the key issues impacting our communities.”

“I regularly have businesses tell me that they would love to welcome newcomers to the region to fill their vacancies. Newcomers with the right fit for our jobs would have a strong impact, both on businesses and our entire local economy. There is a huge opportunity for our region and our local businesses to grow, all we need is the right people.”

Mrs Hayes said she was witnessing that the COVID crisis is creating the catalyst for more qualified, experienced people making the move to regional areas.

“Regional areas are hugely attractive in terms of work-life balance and housing affordability. If the COVID-19 pandemic has shown anything, it’s the benefits of living in regional areas. In the Murray region, our strong regional leadership means we are in a great position to rebuild and come back from this crisis even stronger.”


Further details: Edwina Hayes

Chief Executive Officer: Regional Development Australia ~ Murray Region

Ph: 0427 267 753 email: communications@rdamurray.org.au