Renee Cluff

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Ten industries most in need of staff in Cairns and Far North Queensland right now

As the Federal Government prepares to wind back its JobKeeper and JobSeeker programs at the end of March, Tropic Now has done some digging to find out what the local job market is currently like.

It’s certainly not all doom and gloom.

Through data from, we’ve narrowed down a list of the ten industries most in need of staff – and the results might surprise you.

  1. Healthcare and Medical

229 jobs advertised, including:

  • 35 in aged care nursing
  • 33 in physiotherapy, OT and Rehabilitation
  • 19 in general medical and surgical nursing
  • 15 in dental

Warrina Innisfail – a major employer and provider of retirement and residential aged care services for the Cassowary Coast  is set to open a new 64-bed facility in Innisfail this month and is among the centres advertising for nursing and care staff.

Human Resources Manager Caleb Wiles told Tropic Now the COVID-19 pandemic, the Royal Commission into Aged Care and competition from the National Disability Insurance Scheme for staff has made recruitment all the more challenging.

However, he says working in aged care is a vocation, rather than just another job.

“We're looking after our mums, dads and grandparents and it’s extremely rewarding work," he said. 

"And for a certificate III level graduate, rates of pay start at around $30 an hour for casual employment.

“It certainly is a promising market for solid career pathways, given the rapidly ageing population.

“There are lots of opportunities within the sector for new graduates as well as experienced nurses wanting to diversify their traditional skill sets within middle and senior management roles.”

2. Trades and Services

220 jobs advertised, including:

  • 54 in automotive trades
  • 30 electricians
  • 16 in building

Sue Powe-Hobbs from Truck and Equipment Service Co in Cairns and Mareeba says she has been finding it extremely difficult to secure staff in what is an extremely busy time.

“We’re booked out one to two weeks in advance,” Ms Powe-Hobbs told Tropic Now.

“It’s near impossible to find staff.

“We’ve got quite a few positions available here and we can’t get them filled.

“Our industry has always had a shortage but at the moment it’s worse.”


3. Hospitality and Tourism

167 jobs advertised, including:

  • 47 chefs/cooks
  • 22 housekeepers
  • 19 front office and guest services staff
  • 16 bar and beverage staff


4. Community Services and Development

105 jobs advertised, including:

  • 42 in aged and disability support
  • 24 in child welfare, youth and family services
  • 13 in employment services


5. Retail and Consumer Products

91 jobs advertised, including:

  • 58 retail assistants
  • 18 store managers
  • 8 department/assistant managers


6. Government and Defence

87 jobs advertised, including:

  • 53 state government jobs (mostly in Queensland Rail, Main Roads and health)
  • 21 local government jobs
  • 7 federal government jobs


7. Education and Training

83 jobs advertised, including:

  • 11 vocational teachers
  • 10 early childhood teachers
  • 10 student services staff


8. Manufacturing, Transport and Logistics

84 jobs advertised, including:

  • 24 in warehousing, storage and distribution
  • 19 in road transport
  • 8 in assembly and process work


9. Administration and office support

73 jobs advertised, including:

  • 34 administrative assistants
  • 16 receptionists
  • 7 each for client sales and admin/PA/EA/Secretarial


10. Accounting

39 jobs advertised, including:

  • 7 in business services and corporate advisory
  • 7 in financial accounting and reporting
  • 6 financial managers/controllers