One of the biggest factors in deciding to move can be the availability of work. Coffs Harbour’s unemployment rates are typical of a coastal destination, with opportunities for employment in a number of industries.
Coffs Harbour experiences the same skills shortages that currently affect the rest of Australia, with many trades, nurses, doctors, teachers, chefs, medical staff and specialists, engineers, hospitality, tourism and IT professionals in demand.
Coffs Harbour has a diversified economy based on the traditional sectors of Health Care and Social Services, Education and Training, Tourism, Retail and Agriculture. We are also starting to have a foothold in the emerging markets of Digital, Renewable energy and Aviation services.
Health Care and Social Assistance is one of our largest industries, contributing more than $420 million to the economy. This sector has seen consistent growth and shows no signs of slowing down. It is the largest contributor to Gross Regional product (GRP), as well as the largest industry sector based on number of employees. There are a variety of employment opportunities available in the growing health sector on the Coffs Coast in traditional, allied and alternative deliveries. Employment in the Aged Care sector is significant, and employs more than 16% of people in this Health Care and Social Assistance sector.
The Education and Training industry is also a thriving sector based largely on the Coffs Harbour Education Campus. With facilities such as Southern Cross University, North Coast TAFE, a variety of Registered Training Organisations, Public, Private and Alternative Schools and a mixture of Preschools and Child Care options, the numbers of people employed in Education and Training account for close to 10% of employment in Coffs Harbour.
A number of businesses that provide learning solutions for external clients through technological platforms also operate from the area. These are important to our technology ecosystem, and require a number of skilled programmers and developers.
Tourism, including hospitality services, is a valuable industry to the Coffs region providing employment and lifestyle opportunities. In 2019/20 , the total tourism and hospitality in Coffs Harbour was $457.2m, the total with more than 3000 locals employed in the sector. Opportunities provided by this sector include tours, transport and accommodation.
Construction employment is driven by activity related to public and private infrastructure projects. Current activity in the local and neighbouring areas is mainly related to Pacific Highway upgrade, construction of a number of public infrastructure projects along with large scale residential and commercial building. The construction industry is the largest output by industry, generating $1503 million in sales over 2019/2020.
With the supply of superfast broadband, Coffs Harbour is the perfect place to establish, relocate or grow your digital business. Coffs Harbour City Council was the first area on the NSW North Coast to access the National Broadband Network (NBN) with Fibre to the Premise (FTTP) in the area.
Businesses in the area can use superfast broadband internet for their business needs and communications, allowing a variety of digital businesses an advantage along with a lifestyle choice.
Construction of the Leading Edge Data Centre facilities in Coffs Harbour began in 2020. The data centre will be part of a highly connected network across Regional NSW, providing better connectivity options and new opportunities for local business growth.
Retail is our second largest employer on the Coffs Coast. From small boutique shops to major shopping centres, everything from food to clothes to accessories to one off pieces are all available. There are employment opportunities across both national brands and for specialist retailers.
The Agrifood sector has come of age and has diversified from it’s beginnings in bananas. Our current largest crop comes from the blueberry industry. The two industry leaders in the area provide jobs in a variety of sectors including production, soil management, packaging and logistics. One of our blueberry cooperatives, Oz Group Co-op Ltd has plans in place to become competitive in the exportation of blueberries in a number of international markets. Agriculture is considered one of our regions ‘Growth engines’ offering favourable prospects for growth, reflecting capabilities already in place.
With the blueberry industry going from strength to strength, opportunities to tap into other markets, such as new strains of raspberries are being researched. Our strong local food movement is supported by Council activities such as the Coffs Coast Growers Market supporting the heart of this network of local growers, retailers and restaurateurs. We are indeed a coast of flavours with a range of job and business opportunities to match.