With the new financial year approaching, winter isn’t the only thing getting a blast right now with Geelong’s job scene set to blast its way into the backend of the year. In addition to Geelong’s burgeoning healthcare, government and community services sectors (with the likes of TAC, Worksafe, Epworth, ABS and NDIA now calling our city by the bay home), Geelong is also successfully capitalising off peak activity within the ICT sector in recent years and a truly flourishing ecosystem of digital innovation, disruption, start-up culture and entrepreneurship has taken flight. Adding further fuel to the fire for local job confidence and economic prosperity are flames that have been fanned by recent State and Federal budgets promising $20 million towards Avalon Airport’s international expansion, $700 million for a new maximum security jail to be built in Lara, and renewed discussion of a new Geelong convention centre and city revitalisation works. Further cuts will also see the regional payroll tax rate drop to just 2.425 per cent, the lowest in Australia – and just half of the metropolitan tax rate. Treasurer Tim Pallas says, “this is expected to slash costs for around 4000 businesses, create jobs, encourage people to move to regional Victoria, and ensure every region shares in the benefits of our economic growth.” Health services are also set to share in $100.5 million of additional funding, and in Armstrong Creek the Government will purchase land for a new CFA base and an extra $2 million will be provided to help Regional Tourism Boards and Councils grow their local economies and local jobs by attracting new visitors and new events.

Fruition has also found Geelong wages becoming increasingly competitive across most sectors and coming more into line with our Melbourne counterparts, with the average salary difference narrowing to around $5K (or $10K – $20K for executive roles). Additionally, Geelong pay packets have been further boosted by employers embracing additional inclusions such as car allowances, bonuses, KPI tethered commission structures and above statutory superannuation benefits which are all adding to the bottom lines of employees. Furthermore, having personally been involved in planning and forecasting meetings with 12 separate Geelong organisations in recent weeks to advise on talent strategy, I was pleased to have consistently observed huge confidence moving forward and firm plans in place for new local hires and new projects.

Similarly impressive (and beyond the healthcare, community services and government sectors), Geelong has actually welcomed a swathe of other new businesses to our town in recent times — underpinned by a thriving education sector in Deakin University, The Gordon and Tribal Group and backed by our stoic retail giants Cotton On, Rip Curl, Quiksilver (and even Oishi-M, Bellroy, Basford Brands and Stage II), the likes of Pacific Hydro, Dialog Information Technology and LiveTiles have set up shop in Geelong. LiveTiles in particular (a rapidly growing software company), who are poised to open their new Asia-Pacific Headquarters in Geelong over the next month, will bring with it 500 jobs to the local region. Our hospitality sector also continues to thrive with a number of new wineries, eateries and culinary delights having opened up in recent times, such as the hugely popular Cake Bar on the corner of Ryrie and Moorabool Streets in the old ‘Rug Clearance’ site. Perhaps most excitingly though, is Geelong having recently been recognised as a UNESCO City of Design. Geelong Mayor Bruce Harwood said the recognition of Geelong’s achievements in design by UNESCO was a tremendous honour. “We are now part of an esteemed list of amazing cities including Bilbao, Buenos Aires, Shanghai, Istanbul and Singapore,” he said. “For Geelong, being able to collaborate with other Cities of Design overseas will see productive relationships formed and opportunities to share our design initiatives. This network will attract increased numbers of design, arts, entertainment and other creative based jobs here in Geelong. We’re already seeing this happen with the work Creative Geelong is doing and the GPAC redevelopment.”

So, despite Healthscope’s recent decision to shut the Geelong Private Hospital and Geelong’s unemployment rate currently sitting high at around 6 per cent, Geelong’s job scene is truly warming up for a period of peak activity post financial year. If, however, you find yourself seeking a new employer in the new financial year and go to refresh the online job boards come July 1, take heart — it’s only from August onward that much of this activity will hit the market. So until then, embrace this often ‘performance appraisal’ time of year, and take the opportunity to consider and discuss what has been and what can be. And where performance appraisals are concerned, I encourage both employer and employee to do proper preparation, to ensure evidence based discussions, to review achievements, refresh ourselves of current salary trends, be aware of the happenings in the market, give and receive positive and constructive feedback and discuss objectives for the onward and upward. Because despite the weather at the moment, Geelong’s still very much the place to go — so let it grow, let it grow, let it grow.

— Lauren Hogan
Director People & Talent
Fruition Recruitment