Human capital has become a central theme in policies directed at promoting regional economic development. Using a detailed analysis of workers' skill and knowledge capabilities the authors identify, compare and contrast the skill and knowledge needs and gaps existing in three metropolitan regions of Australia. The analysis shows clear signs of disparity in terms of employment opportunities. Of particular concern are the decline in the skill and knowledge intensity of occupations and a trend in part-time work which tends to favour lower skill and knowledge intensity employment. Whilst the study highlights challenges facing the regional economy, it also provides an opportunity for local government, education and business to focus efforts to improve the skills and knowledge of the resident workforce and assist in the creation of a sustainable regional economy.