There is no escaping that the North East has been hit during the recession, and the HR sector has been as badly affected as any other.
Despite this, we are experiencing a sustained increase in interim and permanent positions for both generalist and specialist roles. Generalist HR professionals in Newcastle have always been highly sought after, but we are now seeing increased demand for more specialist disciplines, such as diversity and reward.
There is a significant level of interim recruitment in Newcastle – professionals are increasingly being brought in to work on specific projects, rather than for the maternity cover or backfills that used to dominant this market. A number of businesses are still going through significant changes, helping to drive the demand for redundancy and TUPE specialists.
Many businesses are beginning to revaluate their workforce and are finding shortfalls in certain key skills. This has led to an increased demand for learning and development managers. Post-recession, employers are also hiring reward specialists to revisit reward structures. In some cases, these specialists are needed to streamline and cut costs, but in many cases to help boost staff retention.
Salaries in Newcastle are competitive. We are seeing evidence of some professionals relocating to the area, and strong remuneration packages are driving this.
Newcastle has a strong networking culture and a number of large employers, making it a good place for HR professionals to live and work.
Among the better-known local employers are military equipment manufacturer BAE Systems, utilities providers Northern Electric and Npower Gas, and national bakery chain Greggs.
Newcastle also has much to offer the off-duty HR professional. Well-known for its nightlife, the city is home to a thriving arts scene. And an excellent infrastructure gives easy access to a range of cultural sights. The famous Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, the biggest contemporary art venue outside London, is in neighbouring Gateshead, while just a short distance away, Segedunum Roman Fort marks the eastern end of Hadrian’s Wall.
Both football and rugby are popular in Newcastle, as is athletics, with the city hosting the annual Great North Run. Horse racing is popular too, culminating in the annual Northumberland Plate Festival, which takes place at Newcastle Racecourse each June.
Newcastle International Airport is six miles from the city centre, with excellent public transport connections to destinations throughout the region by bus, Metro rail or taxi. Direct trains to London take less than three hours, and just an hour and three quarters to Edinburgh.
Information provided by Hays Human Resources.