A new Illawarra employment site is struggling to list enough jobs to meet the online demand for work.
Website jobsinthegong.com.au, launched in July, has already signed up 10,000 job seekers but has been unable to provide similar numbers of employment advertisements.
Angel Recruitment founder Beti Krsteski, who was behind the site, said recruiters needed to be able to offer more jobs region-wide, an issue that shouldn’t be ignored.
‘‘We need to start the conversation now,’’ she said.
‘‘We need the ability to create more jobs in our region and part of this accountability needs to belong to the government in power and their local representatives.’’
With the impending federal election, Ms Krsteski called on regional politicians to put the issue of job growth at the forefront of the election debate.
She believed the sheer number of job seekers showed that residents were willing to work and change careers, but were being forced to contend with a lacklustre regional economy.
‘‘I think the region’s economic outlook is not as strong as Sydney,’’ she said.
‘‘Wollongong is more conservative, we’re not risk-takers. I talk to employers and about 80 per cent may be able to employ someone else, but they are worried the economy will take another turn.
‘‘We need to look at building opportunities, supporting local businesses and creating that stimulus.’’
Jobsinthegong.com.au sales agent Kellie Jones is keen to change the perception that people need to travel outside the region to find jobs.
With about 35 per cent of residents employed outside the Illawarra, Ms Jones hopes the website will encourage people to look for work in their own backyard.
‘‘I think some people believe they can’t work here, they feel it’s necessary to commute to Sydney,’’ she said.
‘‘They might not even think about looking for a job here as they don’t see any point; we don’t want to lose that talent so it’s about keeping things localised.’’
She said the site’s new training arm, set to be launched in a few weeks, would operate on a similar philosophy, hoping to offer regional training opportunities.
‘‘There are so many people out there who want to change their career direction or up-skill locally, but they don’t know how,’’ Ms Jones said.
According to IRIS figures, 7.3 per cent of Wollongong men and 6.6 per cent of its women are unemployed.