Connecting Our Great Small Cities
LinkedIn is a truly global platform, with a mission to connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful. At the Regional Australia Institute (RAI) we know that the reach and power of the platform extends to far flung parts of the world, and an exciting new partnership is enabling us to drive economic opportunity in regions far from the global megacities.
A partnership between LinkedIn and the Regional Australia Institute is bringing the power of LinkedIn’s Economic Graph to leaders in Australia’s regional cities. Australia has its global cities of course, and Sydney Melbourne, Brisbane Perth and Adelaide always score highly on rankings of the ‘world’s best cities’. But there are 31 regional cities in Australia with diverse and vibrant economies, and some would say even better lifestyle. LinkedIn and the Regional Australia Institute have delved into five of these regional cities to understand how the skill mix is evolving, how professionals are connected within and outside the cities, and which skill sets are most in demand.
5 very different places
Our work has looked at five very different places:
- Townsville – Australia’s ‘northern capital’ and largest tropical city
- Sunshine Coast-Noosa – a coastal city that grew on the back of its subtropical coastal lifestyle and is evolving a deep knowledge sector capability
- Greater Newcastle – a large regional city with a vibrant heart, surrounded by a premier wine region and major coal mines and utilities
- Wollongong – a former steel town now closely connected with ‘global Sydney’
- Launceston – a regional city of 60,000 in northern Tasmania
Powerful analysis tool for small cities
We have pushed the boundaries of analysis of LinkedIn’s membership to test just how far we can go in mapping skills and networks in smaller places. We have found that the depth of LinkedIn membership is so strong that robust analysis is possible in cities with populations down around 60,000 people.
Overall, the average number of connections per member increases with the size of the city. Across the five, Sunshine Coast-Noosa has the highest average number of 90 connections per member.
But different cities have different connection patterns. Greater Newcastle has the strongest internal links, with 31 per cent of member connections within the region, while Sunshine Coast-Noosa has the strongest international links with 25 per cent of member connections with people overseas.
Leading indicator of economic growth
Each city has its own unique flavor, but there are similarities as well with the top two skills available in each city being ‘healthcare management’ and ‘IT infrastructure & system management’.
We also have near real time insight into professional people flows around these five cities. It is clear that in late 2016 tech skills like coding and development are in short supply, while social media marketing is a skill set showing high levels of demand. A suite of softer skills, particularly managerial skills (for example business development & relationship management, and recruiting) are also in high demand and are a great way into work in these cities if that is your next play.
The findings from this partnership have already fired up leaders in the five cities. The information is almost real time, and provides great insight into the nature of connections and, by extension, business flows within and outside these cities. This is a rich information base to help regional leaders understand more about the leading edges of their economies, and what they need to do to support growth and create economic opportunity for their part of the global workforce.
LinkedIn and the Regional Australia Institute are excited to continue our partnership in 2017, so stay tuned for more leading edge insights coming your way soon.
Written by Dr Kim Houghton, General Manager Policy and Research, Regional Australia Institute