Brain Drain To A Trickle

FEWER workers are leaving South Australia for interstate, with latest figures showing more people are choosing to further their careers by staying here.

Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show a slow decline in the number of people leaving for interstate in the past three years.

In the 2006-07 financial year, 27,211 people left the state for greener pastures, but in 2007-08 the number decreased to 26,850.

The exodus declined slightly to 26,324 people leaving in 2008-09.

So far this financial year, the brain drain has continued to slow, with 5,729 people heading interstate in the September quarter.

It was the lowest number of people leaving the state in a three-month period in more that 20 years and the smallest exodus in one quarter since September, 2006.

The figures come as unemployment in SA in the past year reached a record low and was the lowest in Australia. However, the number of people heading interstate still outstrips the number arriving by 4,683 people.

University of Adelaide professorial research fellow Professor Graeme Hugo says the decline in people leaving in the past three years shows the increased tendency for young people to stay close to home – a result of the troubled economic climate in the past two years.

But he says the state economy has improved ahead of others, which is presenting employment opportunities in SA so workers do not have to move away to find work.

Stayers Taste The Benefits

“People are probably less willing to take change on getting a job interstate than previously,” Professor Hugo says.

“Unemployment did go up as a response to the (global economic) crisis and we have tended to notice that people tend to be more conservative and less likely to go interstate.”

Stillwell Management Consultants managing director Daryl Stillwell says the world’s economic uncertainty has caused many young jobseekers – who might otherwise have left Adelaide to work interstate or overseas – to remain at home.

“They are staying put, if in doubt,” he says.

“They may not have their ideal place of employment, but are thinking ‘If I leave, I will be the last hired therefore the first laid off.”

Australian Outdoor Living production manager Kim Eiseman, 20, has no plans to leave Adelaide to further her career in the building industry. She started at the company after finishing high school as a junior receptionist and has worked her way up in the past three years.

She now runs the roller shutters division.

Ms Eiseman says there are many opportunities for young workers to develop a career without leaving South Australia.

“I think, to be frank, a lot of people undervalue the younger staff they have because they don’t have the experience,” she says.

“Where a lot of my friends and I have come from and grown up, it’s pushed us to work hard.”

“Being young, there are opportunities for growth.”

She hopes to move further up the ladder as the company continues to expand across Australia out of its Adelaide base.

‘For me in the building industry, I can see the rate at which Adelaide is growing and it’s an outcome that is available to people living here now,” she says.

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About Alex Kuchel

This is Alex. Alex is the National Brand Manager at Australian Outdoor Living (AOL). By day, she’s a member of AOL’s marketing team. She helps to conjure up ideas on how best to promote Australian Outdoor Living and enjoys working with a pretty awesome team of clever cookies. By night (and weekends), she enjoys the company of her family and friends. She’s a big believer in sun shine and does her best to enjoy it with those she loves most.”