Newcastle job market update, July 2021

Newcastle job market update, July 2021

With the close of July, it’s time we 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 dropped by 27 per cent in the Newcastle job market between June and July.

Permanent roles accounted for the majority of the decline, falling by 34 per cent. From June to July, part-time and contract opportunities remained mostly steady. This bodes well for part-timers as it follows a huge increase in part-time opportunities in June (which saw the number of listings increase by 65 per cent). The consistent demand for part-time workers and decline in permanent positions suggests there is an openness from employees to provide flexible work opportunities, especially if their ideal candidate cannot make a full-time commitment.

On the desk, we’ve seen:

      • Some companies are hesitant to offer permanent positions while recruitment is still happening remotely and the lockdown continues. This is mainly born from a fear of investing in onboarding for hires that do not stay long-term.
      • Office Support is still a candidate short market. When companies find out their staff are looking for opportunities elsewhere, they will counter-offer to retain their staff. We’ve found that job security (with the same employer) and a higher salary are often enough to convince employees to stay put.
      • Candidates are being inundated with offers. This is positive for candidates but means employers have to work harder to get the candidate across the line. Ask about their ‘why’.

 

 

Tech

 

Opportunities in the tech market have remained steady between June and July, which is some welcome consistency for the job market in Newcastle. This year, we’ve seen moderate troughs and peaks, mainly reflected in the temp and contract space. This total percentage change across permanent, contract and temporary opportunities in July was statistically insignificant.

Permanent opportunities are still the strongest and most advertised, followed by contract roles. Part-time opportunities are the hardest to come by in this sector.

On the desk we’ve seen:

      • Nationally, this is a candidate short market, particularly for Business Analysts and Developers.
      • Companies in Newcastle are beginning to warm to the idea of completely remote workers. This increases the candidate pool but doesn’t alleviate the shortages felt nationwide. It’s possible, companies might look overseas if this shortage continues.
      • Candidates have supreme bargaining power when negotiating roles in the tech space.

 

 

Marketing

 

After a strong month in this sector in June, July saw a small dip. Newcastle job listings fell by 17 per cent in the marketing sector, with the most significant decline seen in permanent positions. This decline follows a sector trend, with the number of opportunities declining month-on-month since January 2021, excluding the high-performing outlier in June.

Permanent opportunities declined by 21 per cent and part-time by 37 per cent. Positively, contract opportunities grew by 75 per cent. This suggests companies are making use of a temporary workforce, likely related to lockdown measures and new requirements to support a digital workforce.

On the desk, we note:

      • Many companies making use of remote workers and looking outside of the region to fill open roles. This is supported by the number of contract opportunities on offer.
      • Digital transformation projects are on the rise, also accounting for the rise in temp positions.

 

 

HR

 

Job listings in HR decreased by 14 per cent in July. Most of the decline was seen in listings for temp and part-time positions. Temp declined by 35 per cent and part-time by 66 per cent. The fall in listings for these more flexible positions may be tied to the close of the financial year as many businesses temporarily increased their workforces in June to meet demand. We also saw many newly created roles being advertised in the June period to support businesses as they streamlined business processes in anticipation of 21-22.

Permanent positions continue to be the most in-demand in the market, continuing a trend since early 2021. This is unsurprising as candidates continue to name job security as a driving factor when choosing a new position.

On the desk, we have seen:

      • Medium demand for HR Business Partners and Recruitment Professionals in this space.
      • One of the key drawcards for candidates is career growth. They want to expand their skill set, with the inclusion of strategic and operational elements in a new role being particularly attractive.
      • Value alignment with a company is critical for a candidate.

 

 

Engineering

 

Job listings in the Newcastle job market held relatively steady in the engineering sector. Listings decreased marginally, by 4 per cent. This decrease can be mainly seen in permanent listings, declining by 5 per cent total.

Permanent opportunities continue to account for the bulk of the listings. Positively, temp roles held steady and there was one new part-time positive advertising in Newcastle in the engineering space. There continues to be a lot of economic activity, strong demand for environmental and mechanical engineers, and opportunities in technology-based industries.

In-house we note:

      • Infrastructure is big in the market at the moment.
      • There has been significant investment in rail in Sydney. A portion of talent in the region have taken positions in Sydney to support this investment which could mean local companies must increase their salary or other offerings to compete with metropolitan markets.
      • Aeronautical engineering has seen significant growth in the region with several projects commencing. If you have knowledge and experience in this space, it’s an opportune time to reach out.

 

 

 

Construction

 

Listings to the construction Newcastle job market have experienced constant growth since March. The market is promising, growing by 5 per cent across all work types in July. Permanent positions account for the bulk of listings and remain steady, growing by 12 per cent. We expected to see such a great number of permanent positions on offer as there has been sustained investment in the region. New projects include:

      • The Newcastle Art Gallery expansion. This is a $35.6 million dollar investment and will generate a number of jobs in the region.
      • Many parks projects including the $1.5 million Wallsend Active Hub.
      • A number of residential developments. These have been prioritised to support a local population expected to grow by 25 per cent by 2041.

 

The changes to the temp and part-time markets were less positive. Temp dropped by 25 per cent and part-time from 2 to 0. The reduction in more flexible positions may be linked to the close of the financial year and the conclusion of many projects.

 

On the desk, we’ve seen:

      • Site Managers and Project Managers are the roles most in-demand in the build space.
      • Project Engineers and Estimators are the roles most in-demand in the civil space.
      • Construction is still a candidate short market and is expected to be this way for the foreseeable future. Job security continues to be a driving factor for candidates to stay with their current employer.

Accounting

 

Accounting saw a decline in advertised positions between June and July. The total number of listings decreased by 18 per cent. Both permanent and part-time listings declined, the first by 25 per cent and the latter by 46 per cent.

Interestingly, after a decline in June, temp positions grew by 120 per cent. This suggests employers are mobilising a temporary workforce rather than making permanent hires, likely due to the effect of lockdowns on the labour market. This matches national trends which saw NSW payroll jobs fall by 4.4 per cent in July. Per the Head of Labour Statistics, Bjorn Jarvis, “Payroll jobs held by women and workers under 30 were particularly impacted, especially in New South Wales.”

In-house, we note:

      • There has been a notable drop-off in accounting roles. Employers are looking to ride the market out before making permanent decisions.
      • Advertised contract roles tend to be two to three months in length.
      • There is a steady candidate supply in the part-time space. Given the market drop in part-time, there are a number of great candidates available to fill temporary roles.

 

Legal

 

From June to July, listings in the legal sector of the Newcastle job market slightly increased (8 per cent). Interestingly, permanent listings declined while temp and part-time positions increased. Temp and part-time work in this sector is typically scarce.

Part-time listings grew by 100 per cent, and temp jumped by 500 per cent. Flexibility continues to be a key request from candidates. This change in listings suggests employers are listening. It also points to an increased demand for legal support staff who more commonly work in flexible capacities, such as Legal Secretaries.

On the desk, we note:

      • Demand for jobs remains strong with lots of vacancies.
      • The lift in contract and part-time is an attempt by many employers to attract candidates.
      • Job applications for each job remain low, so headhunting is the main sourcing tactic.

 

Executive

 

From June to July, listings in the executive space of the Newcastle job market increased. The total percentage increase was 21 per cent. Permanent saw a marginal increase of 6 per cent and temp remained unchanged. Part-time listings improved from 0 to 5. This change is quite significant given candidates being recruited in this market are typically senior business partners. Part-time opportunities in this area point to:

      • Talent shortages.
      • Job redesign.
      • Demands for flexibility (as a result of labour market changes).

 

On the desk, we note:

      • There is a new supply of candidates from Sydney who are looking to relocate which improves the local candidate pool but makes the process much more competitive.
      • There has been a notable mindset shift in candidates who will accept lower salaries in order to remain local in a non-metropolitan market. Pre-COVID, these candidates would have sought out positions overseas with lucrative packages attached.
      • There is going to be more opportunity for entirely remote positions, with limited travel once restrictions ease.

 

Procurement

 

Procurement is the latest industry we have added to our report. Job listings in this space have followed trends for the year. Permanent positions are typically the main work type advertised and in July the only work type on offer in this space.

On the desk, we note:

      • A number of advertised positions are at senior levels. Sourcing candidates at this level is done primarily through targeted campaigns.
      • Coordinator and office level roles are also strong in this market, with employers ideally after two to three years’ experience.

 

 

Australian job market

 

In July we saw some interesting figures:

      • Nationally, the unemployment rate is now below 5 per cent. But the hours worked fell in NSW, underpinned by changes to the labour market (such as lockdown).
      • Hourly earnings increased by 0.4 per cent in the June quarter. This is the lowest rate recorded for the series.
      • Unsurprisingly, overseas visitors are down 98 per cent, which has exasperated candidate short markets.

 

The new COVID-19 wave has undoubtedly had ripple effects on the labour market. Pleasingly, market confidence remains high and both candidates and clients are adapting and reprioritising accordingly. While candidates are prioritising job security and opportunities that align with their new life priorities, such as remote or flexible work, companies must continue to listen to demand. The most successful companies put people (and their priorities) before the rigidity of a set job description or working hours. This trade-off often sees benefits: diverse skill sets, more engaged employees and long-term hires.

 


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.

 

Previous Newcastle Job Market Updates: June, May, April, March