Exclusive report: What is driving Council recruitment in 2021?

Councils are experiencing unprecedented new pressures that are making recruitment more difficult than ever. So says a new HRhub Resonate report: Council Recruitment 2021 – Trends & Insights. HRhub is a collaboration of leading suppliers in Council recruitment – Blackadder Associates, CouncilJobs & Leonards Advertising.

Primarily for the benefit of Council Recruiters, the findings of this report are highly relevant to anyone working in or interested to work in Australian councils. Download your free copy here.

There are seven findings of significance that shed light on how recruiters will be operating this year.

Compiled from analysis of every job advertised in the year, the report also delivers insights into what levels of remuneration & other benefits can be achieved by Job category, location & level.


Here’s a summary of the major findings.

  1. Significant pre-Covid internal population movement is causing heavy pressure on council budgets with two segments affected heaviest
    • Regional cities are under the most growth pressure
      • Population: receiving 93% of national growth (+4.7%)
      • Workforce: representing 41% of national growth (+520 FTE)
      • Remuneration: representing 37% of national growth (+$222M)
      • Attrition: 36% of all attrition (10.9%)
    • Rural towns are being squeezed (out of existence) by external factors
      • Population: highest rate of loss (-1.7%)
      • Workforce: lowest level of FTE growth (+0.2%)
      • Remuneration: highest level of annual growth (+6.0%)
      • Attrition: highest level (16.2%)
  1. Council remuneration is under huge pressure to attract and retain good candidates. Total Council remuneration grew 2.4 times faster than total Australian wages growth with Rural towns growing 3.3 times as fast just to survive & Regional cities growing 2.9 times as fast to cope with their rampant population growth.
  2. It is a Jobseeker’s market as talent is short in a few critical areas nationally;
    Engineering, Governance, Finance, Building & Planning
  3. Working for council is more attractive than it was a year ago. With renown job security & greater flexibility, Councils are increasingly seen as being more dynamic. HR leaders are now more open to recruit externally for technical and senior roles, but many technically competent applicants lack the necessary leadership skills.
  4. External recruiters are increasingly being engaged for executive leadership and professional roles, for a number of significant reasons.
  5. Recruitment advertising is evolving quickly so as to better balance quality vs quantity
  6. Recruiters are increasingly brand managers for their councils as they seek to improve recruitment communications effectiveness


What conclusions can be drawn?

  • Councils are in a competition for skill/talent
  • The pace of recruitment is accelerating. Change is upon us all. ‘Adapt or die’ (Andy Grove)
  • Getting the right people onboard is more important than just filling seats