Manufacturing no longer top employer in Adelaide’s North

Healthcare has overtaken manufacturing as the biggest employer in Adelaide’s northern suburbs.

Adelaide Now reports that, according to Federal Government Labour Force Data, jobs in the manufacturing sector have dropped from 27,000 to 20,100 in the last five years to May. This represents a drop of 25 per cent.

Over the same period, jobs in the healthcare and social work sector increased by 30 per cent (from 20,800 to 26,900).

In addition, retail is now the second largest employer in the region. Although the number of jobs in the sector were down, retail now employs 21,400 people.

This leaves manufacturing as only the third biggest employer in Adelaide’s North.

According to Gail Sulicich, chief executive of not-for-profit employment agency Northern Futures, the downward trend in the manufacturing sector is likely to continue over the next 20 years.

Sulicich believes that the fact that manufacturing will contract is something that needs to be accepted. However, the sector can survive if manufacturers and governments accept that there is a need to adapt and diversify.

"If the growth is in health and manufacturing is declining, we need to be smarter about looking at how those two industries could be working together," she said.

"Obviously the manufacturing industry is going through a transitional period, but there is a lot of expertise, knowledge and human capital that could be used to look at manufacturing by building titanium limbs.

"There will still be manufacturing of some sort but it will not be what we're used to or as big as it once was."

There is a developing acceptance of the desirability for manufacturers in the area to specialise and concentrate on new technologies and advanced manufacturing.