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    Bosses must address the needs of PAs, says specialist

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    Employers are facing a threat to company growth by not understanding the needs of PAs and other staff, according to a new report.

    The study by Hays warns that while 94% of organisations expect business to remain stable or even increase post-Brexit, employees do not share the same enthusiasm. 65% of PAs and other office support staff expect to move jobs in 2017, as many are fearful for the security of their position, don’t expect future opportunities and are dissatisfied with pay.

    While companies remain optimistic, concerns around a potential skills crisis in the UK could prove damaging to many looking to recruit support staff. 75% of recruiters acknowledged applicant shortage as the key challenge in 2017, which is again at odds with employees and prospective candidates, 97% of whom believe they are sufficiently skilled for their jobs.

    A large number of bosses also fail to understand what PAs find attractive in a job offer, with many thinking workers value career development above all else. Studies revealed however that office support staff prioritise work-life balance, location and job security over career development and benefits.

    Office support staff received an increase in pay on average of 2.7% last year, one of the largest raises of all industries covered in the study. Yet with inflation expected to continue through 2017 as the Pound weakens against the Euro, 61% of employers are expected to raise salaries to address this, although only 14% expect to increase pay by over 2.5%. Bosses are expected to feel pressured into raising pay beyond their expectations if they don’t want to lose staff as demand for talent grows.

    “We have seen that there is a mismatch between employers and staff and organisations will need to better understand what employees are looking for if they are going to retain and attract talented individuals,” said Roddy Adair, director at Hays Office Support and PA Secretarial. “Despite uncertainty following the EU referendum, the overall outlook is positive for PAs and EAs, with recruitment continuing across a range of organisation sizes and sectors from what we have seen so far this year.

    “Unfortunately this confidence has not been conveyed to staff, with many believing the referendum result has dented opportunities for career progression and pay rises in 2017.”

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    Toby Cruse

    Content Writer - PA Life

    All stories by: Toby Cruse