Location, location, location: tips for attracting talent outside the big cities

Location is a big part of your talent offer - for better or worse. If you’re in a regional area, you may struggle more than those in the major cities to attract the talent you need. But there are plenty of reasons why someone might prefer to live and work in your area. The trick is to address these in your recruitment messaging, so potential talent can make the best-informed decision.

Remember: your employer brand isn’t a tourist campaign. So, unless you’re recruiting surf lifesavers, “beautiful beaches” probably shouldn’t be part of your talent attraction strategy. You can speak to the local area and lifestyle options unique to your location, but ultimately, your message should focus on what you offer as an employer.

We take a look at two very different organisations that both need to attract talent to regional areas. Their messaging has one important thing in common: it addresses what matters most to their people.

Do more for you: a life-changing experience with Miwatj Health

In the rich bushlands and pristine islands of North East Arnhem Land, Miwatj Health Aboriginal Corporation is on the frontline of some of Australia’s most challenging health problems. They provide culturally appropriate and comprehensive primary healthcare to over 6,000 remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Recruiting talent for these demanding and remote roles is no easy task.

The Yolŋu people of the Miwatj region are the main recipients of the organisation's care, and over 55% of the staff employed are Yolŋu. Their people value and embrace Western institutions and science while maintaining strong Yolŋu culture and identity. To achieve this, they also need to recruit doctors and healthcare professionals from further afield.

Working at Miwatj Health is not without its challenges. The work is remote, and the area is unfamiliar to many Territory residents, let alone those from the capital cities of the southern states. How do you attract people to this location? The area is naturally stunning, and the lifestyle is simple. But is that enough?

Miwatj’s employee value proposition includes “do more for you,” which focuses on what you’ll get if you dive in with an open heart. It’s not about the tangible benefits (while important, these aren’t likely to be a driving factor for talent). Miwatj doesn’t try to desperately “sell” this opportunity - they’re confident that the right people will feel incredibly fortunate to experience this job. It’s about the purpose and belonging you’ll find here. Working in tight-knit communities, you’ll form genuine connections. And you’ll be fulfilled, knowing you’re doing truly important work that delivers huge impact. It’s a rare way of life that few get to experience - and there’s the value.

Why move to Dubbo? Unexpected opportunity at Maverick Bio

Maverick Bio is certainly one of the more unique businesses we’ve come across. At first glance, the work may not seem glamorous, but it’s incredibly important. Maverick produces and exports animal-derived biomaterials, which can be used in pharmaceuticals and other medical products. Their Production Technical Coordinator Amanda sums it up: “Knowing that every single piece of tissue I touched had the potential to go into someone’s body and save their life struck a chord with me.”

Maverick recruits for a range of roles, from those on the abattoir floor to chemists conducting research and development to managers building relationships with clients across the globe. There’s plenty of opportunity for local employment, but they also want to attract talent from further afield. The solution? A strong “why join us” message on their careers page, which focuses on global impact and a growth journey while highlighting the benefits of living and working regionally.

Their suite of stories about their people shows that wherever you’re from, you can find a great opportunity at Maverick (and a great life in Dubbo!). While some of their team have always been local, they’ve also recruited many who grew up in the regional town before moving away to explore the world - but found their place back in their childhood hometown. There’s plenty to love about this affordable location, laid-back lifestyle, and practically non-existent morning commute. For anyone who may still have hesitations, Maverick has a “Why move to Dubbo” article that puts any lingering doubts to rest.

Are you an employer in a regional or remote area who needs help with talent attraction or retention? We hope this article helped spark some inspiration. If you’d like to see how we can help, contact us today. We’d love to hear from you.

Tahlia Robinson

About the Author

As Employer Branding Australia’s Commercial Marketing Storyteller, Tahlia Robinson communicates our fantastic, imperfect organisation’s story to the world. With a background in PR for non-profits, she specialises in connecting organisations with their audiences in positive, meaningful ways. Tahlia is keenly interested in accessibility, activism, and keeping up with current trends on social media (while constantly wondering if she’s too old to be on TikTok).

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