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Media Release

Sector reinvents itself and gives professionals more reason to stay in SA

Wednesday 30 November, 2016

A turnaround in South Australia’s professional services sector has seen the creation of more jobs and greater opportunity, BankSA’s Trends economic bulletin has revealed.

Compiled in conjunction with Deloitte Access Economics, the report shows that since significant job losses to the eastern states two decades ago, South Australia’s professional services sector has grown by 62 per cent.

BankSA Chief Executive, Nick Reade, said the professional services sector has emerged to be a significant employer in the South Australian economy, enabling more South Australians to stay and pursue their professional services careers here.

“Twenty years ago we saw significant service sector job losses to the eastern states as bigger cities like Sydney and Melbourne grew at our expense,” he said.

“Not only have the brakes now been put on this trend, South Australia has solidified and grown its professional services sector over the past two decades.”

While lawyers and accountants represent the largest single employment categories, substantial employment growth has occurred for veterinarians (181%), architects (80%) and computer programmers (118%).

Advertisers, photographers, interpreters and translators are also growing areas of opportunity.

“While a decade ago, one in every 20 jobs was in professional services, now that figure has risen to one in every 16,” Mr Reade said.

“And it’s not a sector that’s expected to slow anytime soon – offering longer-term opportunities for students looking to study – and stay – right here in South Australia.

“With professional services employees having longer careers than their ‘blue collar’ counterparts, the situation is as positive for workers themselves, as it is for the companies that employ them.”

The Trends report also indicates significant growth potential for the sector internationally, with export opportunity expected to increase on the back of lower exchange rates and historically low interest rates.

“There is considerable potential to grow this industry beyond Australia’s shores, particularly in Asia,” Mr Reade said.

“Many people are surprised to learn that the export of Australia’s professional services has grown substantially in recent times and we already sell $10 billion a year in professional services to the rest of the world.

“However, the export of services still remains relatively low compared to other export sectors. These opportunities are set to grow even further in the future, so South Australian firms should be preparing to take advantage.”

Mr Reade said professional services was well placed to continue its growth as one of South Australia’s key economic pillars well into the future, with the sector better protected than most against the rise of automation and artificial intelligence.

“Advances in technology have actually increased employment in professional services –which in itself is cause for optimism,” he said.

“Professional workers and firms should certainly be looking to the future with a good degree of confidence.”

See full Trends reports

Media contact:

Megan Grey
0466 320 662