41. Escape to the country: Can remote work and the pandemic re-shape our cities and regional towns? - with Liz Ritchie

career advancement career change career planning covid series job hunting managing complexity regional & remote work women's career Aug 04, 2020
The Job Hunting Podcast Episode 41

With ongoing lockdowns and health concerns, the trend of working from home seems to be here to stay. And with that, many professionals in Australia, and indeed all around the world, are thinking of moving away from big cities, to the countryside. But are we over-romanticizing the prospect of moving, or is it a possibility that we can now seriously consider? 

In this episode of The Job Hunting Podcast, I interviewed Liz Ritchie, the CEO of the Regional Australia Institute. For almost 20 years, Liz has worked across the corporate, government, and not-for-profit sectors, and we crossed paths when we both worked at Australia's renowned think tank CEDA (The Committee for Economic Development of Australia).

Liz is a change agent, a marketer, and a great researcher, so I'm not at all surprised with the high-quality reports the Regional Australia Institute is producing this year, which is aligned with Australians' sentiment: Should we be moving back to the country? If we are working remotely, why are we living in big cities, if we could be down at the coast, or in the mountains? Many of my friends are asking themselves that, and in social media, I see this trend as global. Marketing and innovation guru Tom Goodwin poked fun of the notion of moving away from New York on Twitter back in March, only to find himself buying a piece of land in an idyllic location in Georgia in July.

Liz is an extremely passionate advocate for regional Australia, and I couldn't think of a better guest to discuss this important topic for job hunters and those who are planning the next steps in their careers. Especially towards the end of our chat, we discuss many interesting statistics that I think will come to you as a surprise.

Before joining the RAI, Liz was the Regional General Manager for Westpac Commercial Bank, the State Director for CEDA, in Western Australia, and held a range of leadership roles with CEDA since 2008. In October 2018, Liz was appointed by The Hon David Littleproud MP, then Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, as a non-government independent member of the Indonesian – Australia partnership on Food Security in the Red Meat and Cattle Sector (Partnership). She is also the founding Director of the Australian Gender Equality Council (AGEC) and remains a National Ambassador. In 2015, Liz was a Business News 40 Under 40 Winner in WA, recognized for her contribution to business and the community. She is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, holds a Master of Applied Science (Organisational Dynamics) and a Bachelor of Public Relations from the RMIT. 

Timestamps to guide your listening:

  • 15:30 - Australians are thinking of moving to the country
  • 22:20 - Liz’s upbringing in country NSW and career story
  • 35:52 - Country living: affordability and other advantages
  • 38:54 - Can we pack our bags? Moving now or later? What if it doesn't work out?
  • 45:53 - International trend: this is not an Australian thing! 
  • 53:11 - Country etiquette: how to get along with your new community.
  • 56:38 - Migrants and Regional Australia
  • 1:03:36 - Employment availability in Regional Australia

I hope your questions have been answered in this interview. If not, feel free to comment or message me and I will gladly answer your queries. I'm planning to do another episode soon about moving to the country, as this seems to be a popular topic with requests.

I hope you enjoy this chat with Liz Ritchie.

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Links mentioned in this episode:

Are you new to The Job Hunting Podcast? 

Hello, I’m Renata Bernarde, the Host of The Job Hunting Podcast. I’m also an executive coach, job hunting expert, and career strategist. I teach corporate, non-profit, and public professionals the steps and frameworks to help them find great jobs, change, and advance their careers with confidence and less stress. 

If you are 1) an ambitious professional who is keen to develop a robust career plan, 2) looking to find your next job or promotion, or 3) you want to keep a finger on the pulse of the job market so that when you are ready, and an opportunity arises, you can hit the ground running – then this podcast is for you. In addition to The Job Hunting Podcast, I have developed a range of courses and services for professionals in career or job transition. And, of course, I also coach private clients. 

So there is no excuse – I’m determined to help you! I want you to feel empowered, nail your next job, and have the career you want.

Enjoy the episode, and ciao for now!


Renata Bernarde | Job Hunting Expert

[email protected]


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