The lifestyle pull is obvious. But can the career opportunities available in Geelong fund a good quality of life you ask? Finding well-paid, meaningful work in a regional location can sometimes be challenging. There may be less fish, but it’s a smaller pond too. The good news is Geelong has plenty of large employers across a range of sectors, making for a resilient local economy, and considerable career advancement opportunities. Here’s an overview of key employers across Geelong, Bellarine and the Surf Coast employing between 600 and 4500 people.
We’ve also added a rundown of in-demand employment sectors, and tips to help you hear about new gigs, regardless of whether you’re already living locally, or hoping to relocate in future.
These are currently Geelong’s major employers:
Department of Education and Training
Deakin University (Waurn Ponds & Waterfront Campuses)
City of Greater Geelong
Cotton On Clothing (Head Office & Retail)
Catholic Education System
Target (Head Office & Retail)
Ford Motor Company of Australia (reducing October 7 2016)*
St John of God Hospital and Pathology
Transport Accident Commission
If you’re a qualified health professional, you can make it big in the city of dreams.
Barwon Health, St John of God and the brand spanking new Epworth Hospital will collectively employ around 6,000 people once the latter is fully operational. Add a variety of smaller operators to this tally and it’s clear the health sector is currently Geelong’s biggest employer.
Despite its proximity to Deakin’s Waurn Ponds campus, Barwon Health’s University Hospital Geelong (previously known as Geelong Hospital) is in fact the main public teaching hospital associated with Deakin Uni’s School of Medicine. Just in case the new name didn’t make that clear.
Nearby coffee spots: John Doe, Café Go and Son of an Elk win with University Hospital folks seeking a caffeine hit.
Epworth Geelong is the new kid on the block located in Waurn Ponds. It will also offer clinical training opportunities, and facilitate the integration of Deakin research into care.
You can peruse Epworth Geelong’s current vacancies as well as register your interest in upcoming roles.
It remains to be seen what enterprising foodies might deliver to the Epworth Geelong team for the all important caffeine hit.
St John of God
Geelong’s oldest private hospital is centrally located in Geelong on Myers St. A recent upgrade saw them redeveloping the site of the former Geelong Hotel into an A&E wing, a source of some mirth to locals recalling previous on-site hijinks. Today there’s more than 250 beds including maternity, surgical, medical, rehabilitation and day surgery services. Vacant role information is here.
Nearby coffee spots: Whether by accident or design, St John of God win in the coffee stakes with numerous excellent options nearby including Neck of the Woods, Bistro St Jean, Spot for Joe, Bean and Bear and Little Green Corner.
HEALTH ADMINISTRATION, SERVICES AND INSURANCE
The Transport Accident Commission employs more than 600 people and is based in Brougham St near the waterfront. The TAC is soon to be joined by WorkSafe. It remains to be see what proportion of the existing workforce will transfer to Geelong, but with very generous relocation packages on offer, one can assume a reasonable influx. Check out their careers page.
The National Disability Insurance Agency administers the NDIS and is based in Geelong. This brand new scheme will benefit hundreds of thousands of Australians with a significant and permanent disability, providing support for their families and carers. Peruse their current vacancies.
A Geelong success story, Karingal’s services for improving the quality of life for people with a disability now extend to various corners of Australia. Encompassing accommodation, aged care and mental health support, employment, community services training and brokerage services, today Karingal employs more than 1500 people with nearly 700 roles based in Geelong.
Karingal also offers a volunteers program
GMHBA is a not-for-profit member based private health fund with massive expansion plans https://www.gmhba.com.au/about/10-year-strategy that will support significant employment growth over the coming years. They are bursting out of their current digs in Moorabool St in the centre of town, so may well be eying tenancies in some of the new office towers planned along Malop St. Check their current vacancies.
Nearby coffee spots: Fuel is a notable coffee haunt around the corner from the GMHBA, TAC & NDIA offices.
There’s a lack of manufacturing companies on the list of Geelong’s major employers, but don’t be fooled. Despite the rampant obituaries and government policy red weddings, manufacturing in Geelong isn’t all dead, or mostly dead at all.
There’s still an estimated 7000 – 9000 manufacturing jobs in the Geelong region, and almost 700 manufacturing business. It’s true that with one of the top 5 highest living standards in the world, we can’t compete internationally on labour costs. That’s why high intensity labour manufacturers are diminishing. But there’s still plenty of manufacturers surviving and flourishing across the region based on their smarts. Today, Geelong manufacturers are moving up the value chain into research and development technology and product design. These capabilities represent what manufacturing in Australia today is all about. If you want to call it ‘advanced manufacturing’ as a means of differentiating from Jimmy Barnes loving, overall wearing, working class manufacturing stereotypes, go for it. All manufacturing in Australia now is advanced manufacturing. A superfluous term? We think so.
While cars rolling off local productions lines will be consigned to archive footage, Ford will be maintaining research and testing capabilities in Geelong and Lara, equating to around 500 roles in the region. The new Ranger Utility and new Everist models were both designed in Geelong, so engineering talent is clearly a solid local capability that remains in demand.
While the media glare is often fixated on things we’re not doing anymore, over the past ten years Geelong has quietly morphed into Australia’s largest manufacturer of olive oil. With familiar supermarket brands including Cobram Estate and Red Island, Boundary Bend’s plant in Lara now produces around 65% of Australia’s olive oil. Solid!
The Boundary Bend story is a testament to Geelong’s adaptability. Back in the 80’s, following 15 years of wooing by Geelong leaders, overseas company BWK relocated to Geelong setting up an $85 million dollar facility. Today that building is home to Boundary Bend’s bottling facility.
As Boundary Bend CEO Rob McGavin told Business Insider Australia last year. One of the key drivers in McGavin’s business philosophy is using research to drive cost savings in the business while maintaining quality:
“We’ve been forced into high quality by the cost of labour”. The company invests heavily in research to develop a competitive advantage “not because we’re mad about doing it or like spending money – it’s just purely to solve a problem”. As a result, the company produces 10% more oil from its fruit than the next best processor in the world.
Using research to drive innovation is also evident in the Geelong Manufacturing Council’s Industry Innovation collaboration with Deakin University, centred on developing local competitive advantage. This program taps the full might of Deakin University’s research capability across Science, Engineering, Fibre Technology, and other tech areas, to solve business problems and identify opportunity areas for local manufacturing businesses.
Deakin University has four campuses; two are in the Geelong region. The Waterfront campus is housed in Geelong’s iconic and spectacularly rejuvenated wool stores. Opportunities encompass academic roles, general staff and administrative positions.
Waurn Ponds is Deakin’s original campus in Geelong, opening doors in 1973. Its location on the south eastern edge of Geelong is very attractive to surf coast dwellers. Torquay/Jan Juc is an easy 20 minute drive while Anglesea is a shade under half an hour away.
Deakin’s careers page is the best bet to keep track of new opportunities. They also feature some roles on their company page on LinkedIn (there’s a separate one for students). Deakin also often list general appointments on Seek. For academic appointments there’s also unijobs.
Notable research and initiatives include the Deakin Australian Future Fibres Research and Innovation Centre, medicine and biotechnology, and Geelong Technology Precinct that support and enhance the region’s local capabilities across health and manufacturing.
It’s main Geelong campus is in Fenwick St, right opposite Geelong train station and a short walk away from Geelong’s bevy of cultural, café and bar options along Lt Malop St.
The East Geelong campus sits on Boundary Rd (Thomson/Whittington) offering easy access for Bellarine commuters.
RETAILING AND SURF INDUSTRY
Geelong’s retailing dreamboat is Nigel Austin’s privately held outfit, with more than 1200 local employees and growing at break-neck speed.
HQ is located in North Geelong’s light industrial zone – a five to ten minute drive from the city. There’s a couple of good coffee options nearby at Mule and the Pickers Union, and on-site. The Cotton On Group brands include Cotton On, Cotton On Kids, Typo, Rubi and Factorie. There’s an on-site gym and Academy learning centre.
Cotton On post all vacancies on their careers website. They’re very active LinkedIn job posters, which is probably an easier place to keep track of all new opportunities.
Wesfarmers discount retailer has a long history in Geelong. It was originally a local drapers store, later acquired by Myer and rebadged as Target in 1973 under the Coles Myer group. Today around one thousand employees work from the ‘Store Support Office’ on Thompsons Rd. Next year, the office will relocate out of Geelong to somewhere in Melbourne’s West. Currently around 40% of the workforce travel from Melbourne to Geelong. After some voluntary redundancy cycles, there’s new opportunities coming up here. if you’re not averse to future travel, keep an eye out.
Meantime, the Store Support is adjacent to the Sphinx Entertainment complex in North Geelong (opposite the new Geelong Golf Course Estate if you fancy a midday swing). It’s a short drive or bike ride to Pakington St, Geelong West for lunch and after hours options.
Current vacancies are posted on the Target website and you’ll find roles advertised through LinkedIn and Seek too.
The surf industry accounts for more than a quarter (26.9%) of the Surf Coast shire’s full time jobs equating to 2034 roles. This sector incorporates a multitude of players. Chief among them are Quiksilver aka “Quicky” and Rip Curl.
SME EMPLOYERS IN GEELONG, BELLARINE & SURF COAST
There’s a raft of businesses throughout the region employing less than 500 people who recruit either directly or through local employment agencies. This includes professional services such as the law, accounting and financial services, IT and engineering as well as marketing and digital offerings. If you offer a specialised service you may be able to pony up with an existing business or start up your own niche offering.
Business performance and confidence amongst the professional services group was very positive in the last Geelong Region Survey of Business Trends.
Enterprise Geelong offers a comprehensive list of local recruitment and job agencies here:
LinkedIn, Seek and Saturday’s edition of The Geelong Advertiser (grab the digital version if you’re out of town) is worth scanning for local vacancies, and will give you a good overview of smaller organisations operating across the region.