Contracting in Newcastle

In the last decade Newcastle has transformed itself into one of Europe‘s most exciting places, and for four consecutive years it was voted the nation’s favourite English city break destination in The Guardian/Observer Travel Awards. It also has a number of ‘claims to fame’, including being the place where Earl Gray tea first originated, having the first street to be lit by electricity (Mosley Street), and being the city where the Beatles’ classic ‘She Loves You’ was composed. A mix of world-class events and attractions, coupled with the city’s facilities, shopping, nightlife and of course contracting opportunities, make Newcastle one of the greatest places in the UK to live and work.

Major companies and the public sector
Without a doubt the largest employer in the region is HM Revenue and customs which includes National Insurance who have a huge network of offices throughout the city, one such office in Longbenton has over 3,500 contractors and employees. Indeed, it is estimated that 70% of all workers in the area are government related. It therefore follows that the number one opportunity for contracting is going to be the public sector, even more so now bearing in mind the number of cuts the government is planning. 

Despite cuts to full time workers, work will still need to be progressed, along with new projects being started and existing ones completed, it is expected that key roles will be taken by contractors rather than permanent employees. 

Due to the vast amount of government work in the area, it might be worth reviewing our Security Clearance advice pages. Being security cleared or having previously been security cleared does give an advantage when applying for such positions.

Private sector - Newcastle’s growth over the last decade or so has been thanks to its success in attracting large companies to the region. This in turn has attracted more workers – both permanent and contract based – and so led to greater community development and regeneration. Large organisations with their head offices or decision-making management in Newcastle include The Go-Ahead Group, The Sage Group, Bellway Homes, Npower Gas, Greggs, Fenwicks and of course the Newcastle Building Society and Newcastle United!

The Go-Ahead Group - one of the UK’s leading providers of quality public transport, carrying almost one billion passengers per year and employing around 25,000 people. The company operates many well-known travel brands including Go North East, London Midland, Gatwick Express, Meteor, Southern and MetroBus.

The Sage Group – a well-known supplier of business software and services, including software to manage business finances, run payroll, manage customer and supplier relationships, carry out business planning and support HR functions. Sage provides software and services to over 760,000 small and medium-sized businesses in the UK and has 5.7 million customers worldwide. It employs an ever-expanding team of over 2,000 highly trained people in the UK including industry experts, accountants and entrepreneurs who are all passionate about doing the best thing for its customers.

Proctor and Gamble - P&G really doesn't need any introduction, it manages over 300 brands and employs over 135,000 people globally in over 80 countries. 

Siemens - Employs over 16,000 people in the UK, including about 6,000 in the manufacturing sector. As well as leading global engineering company it also holds numerous outsourced Government contracts. Siemens has offices and factories throughout the UK, including facilities in Shields Road in Newcastle.

Bellway Homes – the fourth largest house builder in the UK. Since its formation more than 50 years ago, Bellway has enjoyed sustained growth and built over 100,000 properties – and in 2009 alone it sold 4,380 homes. The Bellway plc group employs approximately 2,000 people throughout the UK on a direct basis and many more on a contract basis. The group has long had a reputation as a good employer, and as a result, many employees have spent all of their working lives with the group.

Major industries
• Government both local and central
• IT and Telecoms
• Finance and Banking
• Construction

Local newspapers
To find contractor opportunities, remember to keep an eye out in the local papers (many of whom also have website's), as they often have features on recent investments or new companies opening in the area, as well of course as the jobs pages. There are quite a few to choose from in Newcastle, but the best read ones are probably the Newcastle & North East News, The Evening Chronicle, The Journal, the Northern Echo, the Gateshead Post and the Sunderland Echo.

Typical rates of pay
Typical rates of pay in Newcastle for contractors do of course vary depending on your individual skill-set, but as an example, an IT Contractor could expect to earn between £300 and £450 per day on average at a Newcastle-based job. However as always this depends on your skill set and experience.

Ones to watch
Newcastle City Council issued its Regeneration Strategy in 2006, titled ‘Newcastle in 2021’. At that time it stated that “Steady economic growth since the mid-1990s has brought employment back to the levels of the late 1970s, and investment in culture and physical regeneration has transformed Newcastle’s physical appearance and self image. However, the city has yet to rediscover an industrial niche in a world that is increasingly globalised, and the relationship between Newcastle’s economic life and its social life is still to be restored.”

The 15 year plan is now well under way and has already seen many notable developments taking place in the city. The ongoing programme of activity involves significant economic programmes in science, technology and design; improved transport links; the development of high quality cultural attractions and the transformation of education and skills. Specific projects include the development of a ‘Science City’ to stimulate the growth of science and technology businesses and includes the 'Centre for Life' a world renowned science centre, as well as the development of a ‘leisure economy’ across tourism, culture and the city’s retailing offer.

This detailed Regeneration Strategy is providing huge opportunities for contractors throughout the North East.

Things to consider about contracting in Newcastle


  • Great range of opportunities available
  • Excellent social life and one of the friendliest cities in the UK
  • Lower cost of living
  • City living with fantastic countryside nearby and great coastline


  • Lower rates of pay than in the South
  • Further to travel for access to the Southern UK
  • Congestion issues if commuting into the city by car.

For information on other regional contracting guides, see the links below (we will be adding more guides over time):

Contracting in Aberdeen
Contracting in Edinburgh and Glasgow
Contracting in London
Contracting in Reading and Guildford
Contracting in Milton Keynes
Contracting in Bristol, Bath, Cardiff
Contracting in Birmingham
Contracting in Manchester, Liverpool and the North West

If you have any questions about contracting or would like any further advice please call our new business team on 01442 275789 or e-mail: