• PAs desire to feel valued

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    Contrary to our own Twitter poll that shows colleagues are the most important aspect of a job, the new Hays What Workers Want Report 2017 reveals PAs are heavily influenced by pay when deciding whether to stay in a job or accept a new one.

    PAs value pay to ensure they are adequately compensated for the ever increasing scope of their roles. The findings, which include responses from more than 1,300 office support employees, reveals that these professionals are less likely to compromise on pay than the average worker.

    More than half (55%) of office support employees are actively seeking a new role, and two-thirds (66%) state a higher salary as their top reason for moving. Despite this, less than half (40%) of office support employers actually believe this to be important to help their staff retention, highlighting a severe mismatch between the views of employers and employees.

    Whilst pay is a key focus, the experts at Hays say increasing salaries is not always possible and employers need to consider other ways to help employees feel appreciated and supported. PAs enjoy a good work-life balance and are keen to maintain this, so a company culture that positively promotes this is essential. Indeed, almost two thirds (62%) of employees would be willing to take a pay cut to work for an organisation that is a better cultural fit.

    More than half (55%) of those surveyed say they have a good or excellent work-life balance, more than the UK average (51%). This number is higher for PA and secretarial professionals, of which 62% said their work-life balance was excellent or good. This is positive to hear, but also highlights that more than a third of PA and secretarial staff believe their work-life balance is average, poor, or terrible.

    Additionally, two-thirds (67%) of professionals said they would be attracted to work for an organisation that restricts out-of-hours working and more than a third (34%) seek improved work-life balance in a new role.

    The report also revealed 69% of office support professionals state they are ambitious, but this is almost 10% lower than the overall average (78%). When asked what job level they want to reach, one-fifth said seniority level is not important to them in their career and only 20% cited moving up a level in the organisation as the most important aspect of a promotion. This highlights a need for employers to find alternative ways to reward and recognise success, as less emphasis is being placed on career progression.

    “PAs have taken on a broader range of responsibilities in recent years, but pay has not risen at the same level and lower base wages means a greater need to preserve pay levels for financial stability. With office support professionals placing more importance on increasing pay than the overall average, employers will be expected to raise salaries. However, pay is not the only factor that influences career-related decisions and with limited budgets it is crucial for employers to consider other factors.

    “Employers must nurture a culture of recognition and respect by encouraging managers to give praise and reward achievement as this was the most important aspect of a promotion for PAs. Where there is limited career progression it’s important that employees shift their focus to ensuring their staff feel valued and are able to maintain a positive work-life balance.

    “Those employers who are willing to offer PAs a salary that reflects their broad responsibilities and the added value that a PA brings as well as a positive work-life balance are more likely to have productive and engaged individuals in their team.”

    For further information visit hays.co.uk/what-workers-want.