PA-Life-Christmas-Party-2022
Landmark
landmark-advert
Smart Group - Electric Xmas
Emirates Old Trafford
emirates-old-trafford-advert
The Meetings Show
emirates-old-trafford-advert

Office support professionals are seeking new opportunities

Ruth Skelton, senior manager of recruitment firm Morgan McKinley, takes a look at why office support professionals are seeking new roles and how the recruitment process has started to change

We have been seeing an increase in jobs available and professionals seeking work, indicating a strong performance to start the year from office support and secretarial recruitment. The fact that a large proportion of those looking for roles are currently employed demonstrates a confidence to change positions and seek new opportunities.

We have seen an increase in candidate registrations in Q1 2018 compared to Q4 2017. To some extent, this is a natural trend as people reflect after the Christmas break and look to move on once they’ve received their bonuses, but this year’s figures are over what we would expect.

The only trend that, frustratingly, seems to be continuing is the length of time that recruitment processes are taking. Clients seem keen to hire, and the market is full of new opportunities, but it is taking longer to close them, with candidates and clients ‘dragging their heels’ to ensure the decision is the right one. This has resulted in some processes breaking down at the final stage interview, but positively, has resulted in a huge decrease in dropouts.

In demand and highest paying office support jobs
Alongside customer focused roles, we have also seen a resurgence of PA and EA type roles. These positions are more demanding than we have ever seen before in their nature, with potential candidates expected to turn their hand to travel arrangements, events management and data manipulation for multiple senior individuals.

Support roles within companies will always have a salary cap, and within reason, there are always multiple applications for relatively straightforward roles. It is difficult to imply that certain traditional support roles are able to drive salaries beyond expectations as many of these roles do have a shelf life. However, within the HR sector, and specifically at BP level, we have seen a flex on salary for the right person, with increases of £5,000 over budget in some instances.

“We have seen an increase in candidate registrations in Q1 2018 compared to Q4 2017. To some extent, this is a natural trend as people reflect after the Christmas break and look to move on once they’ve received their bonuses, but this year’s figures are over what we would expect.”

Most desirable skills and qualifications
The level of expectation from customers is more demanding these days than it has ever been before. Companies are vulnerable to being compared to competitors on their level of service, as well as value for money. The customer holds the power.

As a result, we have seen a distinct increase in service-oriented roles; customer service advisers, complaint handlers and people dedicated to responding on all social media avenues to questions have all been eagerly hired to emphasise ‘service excellence’ within a broad range of organisations.

As has been seen in recent years, customer service skills are still high priority within the support market as the consumer holds the power. We are continuing to see more and more of these skills emerge in various forms.

Companies are searching for talent that has the ability to get involved with developing the wider business. Having a range of experiences that will help with streamlining internal processes, improving efficiencies and impacting the bottom line will stand you in good stead.

Changes due to brexit policies
For office support, like many other support focused disciplines, there are plenty of questions that are currently unanswered in terms of Brexit. As we progress further towards an exit from the European Union, we will perhaps see changes trickle down from the senior and management focused roles to eventually influence support.

Jobseeker and hiring manager motivations
There are plenty of candidates entering the market with the sole intention of increasing their salary. As previously mentioned, there is a cap and shelf life to many support roles, but this buoyancy indicates a confidence and positivity within office support and secretarial.

As ever, there is demand due to replacements. Only in really tough times are leavers not replaced, but we are also seeing substantial growth in certain areas, most notably for service-based roles.

But, keep an open mind. Be receptive to change and flexibility. Whatever your role is, demonstrate and offer excellent service.