Newcastle job market update, April and May 2021

Newcastle job market update, April and May 2021

With both April and May behind us, it’s time we take a look at the figures to see how the Newcastle job market is faring.


Newcastle job market by industry


At Monica Clare Recruitment we monitor the Newcastle job market using the business intelligence product, PowerAdder. Open jobs, position characteristics and close rates form part of our quantitative reporting. Qualitatively, we measure candidate sentiment, the perceived value of work benefits and the priority placed on position criteria.


Office Support


Listings in the office support market have increased from March through to May. There were 311 recorded vacancies in March, 314 in April and 321 in May. This is a total increase of 3 per cent.

Permanent and contract roles remain strong, while part-time listings halved between April and May. Office support continues to be a market with a strong candidate base in the region, however, it is subject to seasonality. With the close of the financial year only weeks away, it’s not surprising the emphasis has shifted to permanent over part-time employees.

On the desk, we’ve seen:

    • Culture-add is one of the critical factors for candidates when selecting a new position. Often, more important than salary.
    • Younger candidates are increasingly looking for opportunities for training and growth, even if this means a salary reduction.
    • Clients are more open to facilitating a candidate’s transfer from temp to perm.





The tech market has experienced an interesting growth phase since March. In March there were 112 listings in the space, this grew to 159 in April but reduced to 138 in May. Between March and May there was an overall increase of 23 per cent.

In this time period, contract roles experienced significant growth, jumping by 227 per cent between March and May. Permanent positions similarly grew in April, accounting for 83 per cent of listings, but slightly dropped in May, accounting for 72 per cent of listings. These changes are most likely caused by the commencement of government projects in the region.

In-house insights on the space include:

    • A notable increase in out-of-region talent. There is a candidate openness to relocate.
    • There a steady split of clients requiring candidates for permanent positions and long-term contracts (one to two years in length).
    • Candidates continue to value flexible work options.
    • Clients are more willing to pay higher salaries, competing with Sydney and Melbourne, to secure talent.




Listings across all sectors in marketing have seen a decline since last measured in March. There were 62 openings in March, which reduced to 59 in April and again to 51 in May. This is a total reduction of 17 per cent.

This market is candidate-short, and flexibility is a critical criterion for most applicants. This can be seen with a consistent presence for contract and part-time positions. Between April and May, changes to contract listings were negligible. Part-time roles accounted for 16 per cent of advertisements. In May, this figure dropped to 7 per cent.

On the desk, we note:

    • Head-hunting is becoming more essential for all levels.
    • Candidates are expressing a desire for a clear growth path within a company. Most do not want to operate in stand-alone positions or departments.
    • Regional markets will have to compete with city salaries as 100 per cent remote work is becoming more normal in this sector.




Job listings in HR have picked up since they dipped between February and March. In April there were 56 total vacancies, which increased to 63 in May. This is a positive growth of 16 per cent.

Permanent positions continue to be the most in-demand in the market. In April 83 per cent of all listings were for permanent positions. This held steady at 79 per cent in May. Contract roles also remain steady: 12 per cent and 14 per cent for April and May.

On the desk, we have seen:

    • Client openness to contract roles.
    • HRBP roles have been particularly popular with clients.
    • Recruitment and Talent Specialist roles have been in high demand, particularly in high volume industries such as community services and banking.




There has been net positive growth across all categories in engineering in the Newcastle job market. In total listings, there was less than 1 per cent growth from March to April but a 35 per cent growth from April to May.

The offering of permanent and contract roles has also improved month on month. In May 8 per cent of listings were for contract roles and 90 per cent for permanent positions. Part-time roles remain unchanged.

Positive growth is a trend for the engineering market, in line with our findings over the last six months (see: March update). This is in large part due to government grants which have stimulated economic activity. There is also significant investment into infrastructure in the region such as the Newcastle Airport.

In-house we note:

    • A clear candidate preference for job security, a steady pipeline of work and permanent offers.
    • We expect market demand to continue to increase as more projects come to fruition.
    • The market is still very much candidate short. This means candidates need to be very clear on what they are after from a client as they will likely receive multiple offers. Long term success hinges on client-candidate compatibility.





Listings to the construction Newcastle job market have experienced net positive growth from March. Openings decreased slightly, by 7 per cent, from March to April but increased by 43 per cent from April to May.

Permanent positions have remained steady. Total advertised permanent positions in March were 86 per cent, in April 94 per cent and in May 68 per cent.

The construction sector is dominated by permanent positions. However, there were a few listings for part-time positions in April. This outlier is not present in May.

There has been steady growth in contract positions. From April to May, contract roles increased by a huge 220 per cent. This may have been influenced by the coming close of the financial year.

On the desk, we’ve seen:

    • Client openness to contract roles if a suitable permanent candidate is not available.
    • Ongoing consultation about options such as job redesign.
    • A clear candidate preference for permanent opportunities. However, a growing section of candidates prefer to handpick challenging projects or those that fit with a flexible lifestyle.




During April there were 107 vacancies in the accounting sector in the Newcastle and Hunter region. This dropped to just 64 vacancies in May. This dip is largely attributed to seasonality in the sector.

While the total number of positions declined, there was a relatively steady ratio of openings for permanent positions. In April 71 per cent were permanent. Similarly, in May 65 per cent were permanent.

Contract and part-time opportunities have followed the positive trend observed over the last six months (see: March update). Both categories showed increased activity from March. In April contract jobs made up 12 per cent of vacancies. This grew to 23 per cent in May. Part-time positions were slightly less impressive, at 16 per cent in April and then dropping to 10 per cent in May.

In-house, we note:

    • Candidates have been displaying a clear preference for permanent roles, rather than temporary ones.
    • Candidate movement has been quieter coming into EOFY.
    • Expect an increase in candidate activity following EOFY.




From April to May, listings in the legal sector of the Newcastle job market have reduced by 15 per cent. While there was an overall reduction in openings, the percentage of permanent positions being offered has remained steady: 83 per cent in April and 81 per cent in May.

Contract and part-time roles continue to be an area of interest. Increasingly, we are seeing clients are open to recruiting flexi-workers to fill vacancies as the market is candidate short.

On the desk, we note:

    • Strong demand for insurance lawyers.
    • Openness to employing legal secretaries on a contract basis.
    • Application volume is at an all-time low in the region. As a result, firms are willing to facilitate remote work options.





From April to May, listings in the executive space have seen positive growth. The market has grown by 16 per cent overall. Permanent positions grew by 20 per cent and part-time positions grew by 200 per cent. Contract offerings declined by 33 per cent. This may be attributed to a reluctance for candidates to make a move in a market that is offering multiple opportunities.

On the desk, we note:

    • Candidates prefer companies with a strong pipeline of work and job security. Often forgoing salary for these factors.
    • Candidates value a positive onboarding experience. Without this, it may impact their long-term tenure with the business.
    • Clients are more focused than ever on an applicant commitment to their own career development. Investing in ongoing training, education or long-term loyalty to a company are all favourable.


Australian job market


In May the ABS released very promising figures:

  • The unemployment rate continues to fall, down from 6.9% in October 2020 to 5.5% in April 2021. The government predict this will reach a low of 4.5% by 2024.
  • Job ads are at a record high. They haven’t been this high since before the GFC. There is a clear slant towards permanent jobs, with the number of part-time listings dropping.

The federal budget also set in motion an economic recovery plan intended to create jobs. With this economic activity, we expect to see a busy period and more jobs in the market. With more opportunities to choose from, employers will have to work a little harder to secure the most experienced candidates in the market.

Methodology differences make drawing any conclusions difficult, but the Newcastle job market is following nationwide trends relative to the data.


If you’d like us to include additional data in our next report, reach out to a  team member, call the office (02) 4967 5236 or email [email protected] to let us know.