2017 Office Support & Secretarial Salary Survey Guide

Andrew Kitchen 24.02.2017

Brexit made it a tough year for Office Support with Admin, Customer Service, PA, EA and Assistant roles virtually non-existent, however, 2017 looks bright.

View our most up-to-date Office Support Salary Guide.

Contents:

London

Home Counties

South West

Financial Services | London

Role Permanent Basic Salary
(£ Per Annum)
Temporary Rate
(£ Per Hour)
Office Manager 39,000-50,000 20-24
Executive Assistant 38,000-45,000 19-22
Personal Assistant 36,000-42,000 18-21
Trading Floor Secretary 36,000-42,000 18-21
Senior Administrator / Business Assistant 35,000-40,000 18-21
Bi-lingual Secretary 34,000-40,000 17-20
Research Assistant 35,000-37,000 17-19
Float Secretary 32,000-37,000 16-19
Team Secretary 31,000-37,000 16-19
Reception Manager 30,000-35,000 15-18
Administrator 27,000-33,000 14-17
Receptionist / Switchboard 25,000-30,000 13-15
Junior Administrator 25,000-29,000 12-14

 

 

 

Commerce and Industry / Professional Services | London

Role Permanent Basic Salary
(£ Per Annum)
Temporary Rate
(£ Per Hour)
Executive Assistant 35,000-45,000 16-20
Business Assistant 30,000-40,000 14-18
Personal Assistant 30,000-40,000 14-17
Bi-lingual Secretary 30,000-40,000 14-17
Office Manager 30,000-35,000 14-16
Reception Manager 26,000-32,000 13-16
Team Secretary 25,000-35,000 12-16
Senior Administrator 25,000-30,000 12-14
Receptionist / Switchboard 20,000-25,000 10-13
Administrator 20,000-24,000 10-12
Junior Administrator 18,000-20,000 9-10

London Office Support & Secretarial Roles Commentary

Overview

Whether it was concerns over Brexit or the uncertainly at top banks, financial services clients were hesitant when it came to hiring during 2016. Vacancies for office support and secretarial positions within the financial services sector were virtually nonexistent towards the beginning of the year, with many of the larger banks undergoing hiring freezes or increased scrutiny when seeking sign off for positions.
 
Redundancies within this senior bracket were widespread and likely to be in correlation with banks looking to cut costs. Morgan McKinley saw an influx of Senior EA candidates taking up temporary contracts after falling victim to volatile economic conditions, as permanent office support roles have become harder to come by. 

Across the world of industry and commerce, recruitment for office support and secretarial positions was relatively steady at all levels throughout 2016, with no real change from the year that preceded it. The most significant activity in this space was associated with mid-range positions, specifically receptionist and administrator roles. Hiring managers are increasingly outlining their preference for sector specific experience, ahead of cumulative role experience, veering towards candidates with 4-5 years experience within one organisation. 

Positive & Negative News

The lead up to the EU referendum saw a noticeable increase in short term contracts for office support staff in the financial services sector, allowing for flexibility and budget control, should economic conditions change. Post-referendum, there was a noticeable decrease in roles. Both candidates and clients seemed reluctant to commit, to either move roles or hire, until they had a better understanding of the impact this decision would have on the market. 

Having seen an increase in PA roles within industry and commerce, salaries have remained flatter than expected which has caused challenges in securing top talent. With the uncertainty surrounding Brexit, banks were reluctant to hire in a permanent capacity. Due to the short term nature of the hiring activity, recruitment efficiency improved. Many hiring managers that we worked with placed a renewed importance on swift recruitment processes, as a quick turnaround was essential when trying to secure the best talent. 

Qualities & Skills in Demand

Generally speaking, employers tend to favour junior office support candidates that can grow with the business. Candidates at this level are more likely to be happy to jump into different projects from administration to traditional support. Big firms are putting their faith in first and second jobbers, which is a tremendously positive move forward; considering the challenging job market where opportunities for growth and development tend to be scarce. 

Bilingual candidates were in great demand across 2016, particularly those who could speak French, German or Italian. This will continue into 2017, along with permanent contracts for team assistants, particularly those with two or three years of sector specific experience. 

Outside of Work

Aside from the core day to day responsibilities, one way of increasing your value and therefore pay,  is to consider the management of an individual or team. We have found that managing someone can increase a salary by up to 20% or more. 

Having a structured approach to performance is also critical. If your company doesn’t have a formal process for review, speak with your manager about setting targets that you can keep track of for working towards your next pay rise. Many employees leave their posts when they feel that they are stagnating in their jobs or not being paid what they consider to be market rate for their level of performance. Organisations that recognise strong job performance and work towards high retention targets, tend to have regular dialogue with staff to set / reset expectations and continually  question motivations and overall career goals.

Notable Trends

Business support roles are constantly changing, the once rigidly defined role of administrative assistant is turning into an umbrella term for ‘anything and everything’. Employees working in this space are required to be ever more adaptable to changing business needs, as such a flexible approach is ever more important. The role of a PA is no longer limited to a one-to-one relationship and now more likely to support a handful of C-suite stakeholders. Typically, these roles are dominated by females, although we have seen a trickle of male candidates move into these positions.    

 

Home Counties Salary Guide

Role Permanent Basic Salary
(£ Per Annum)
Temporary Rate
(£ Per Hour)
Executive Assistant 35,000-48,000 15-25
Office Manager 30,000-40,000 15-20
Personal Assistant 30,000-40,000 14-20
Senior Administrator 25,000-32,000 12-16
Team Secretary 24,000-35,000 12-18
Administrator 21,000-26,000 10-13
Marketing Assistant 20,000-32,000 10-16
HR Administrator 20,000-28,000 10-14
Sales Support 20,000-28,000 10-14
Customer Services 18,000-32,000 9-16
Receptionist 18,000-26,000 9-13
Facilities Assistant / Post Room 18,000-22,000 9-11
Junior Administrator 18,000-21,000 9-11

Home Counties Office Support & Secretarial Roles Commentary

Overview

Office support recruitment was steady across the Home Counties in 2016, with job levels for both permanent and temporary roles remaining fairly consistent as the year progressed - albeit with a positive spike towards the end of the year. December has historically been a quieter month, however we saw an increase in both temporary and permanent positions which was a positive sign going into 2017.

Positive & Negative News

As it is increasingly the norm for organisations to have some form of customer facing function, we have seen a significant increase in the number of regionally based customer service and sales support roles regionally. Experience in order processing tends to be the most requested attribute on job descriptions. Whilst roles veer towards the more junior end of the spectrum, they form an important part of organisational activity due to their direct interaction with consumers. The employers at the top of the scale place significant value in candidates that clearly demonstrate an enthusiasm for their business - as they anticipate that this will translate to a positive experience for customers when interacting with the individual. 

Across 2016, we received a much diminished demand for PA/EA recruitment. Much of this can be chalked up to an unwillingness from professionals to seek a move, with most job seekers in this space being unemployed at the time of application. Remuneration does not improve significantly enough to risk the disruption of starting with a new employer. 

Qualities & Skills in Demand

The career path for office based jobs is not as clear as other roles, however they can and do lead to higher positions.  In order for this to happen, professionals need to ensure that they take on as many opportunities as they can from their current employer to experience other facets of the business. These opportunities present themselves in a variety of ways - one off projects like an office move, office committees or even offering to cover critical workloads - and can act as a catalyst towards developing skills in a more specialised area. Plus the willingness to take on these additional tasks will not go unnoticed by management. Capability with Microsoft office, especially an ability to use Excel at a high level, is increasingly important in the office environment.

Outside of Work

The obvious suggestion to a salary increase would be to take on extra responsibility whether it be asking for additional duties or moving into a role where you have responsibility for others such as a team leader / supervisory role. However, taking on additional duties does not lead to a guaranteed raise in pay, so this should be supplemented with obtaining qualifications that are relevant to your long term career goals. For example, if you want to move into a HR role then study for the CIPD or if you are looking to move into Marketing then perhaps consider a CIM qualification.  

Organisations should really look at having some formal mentoring process which could really help engaging individuals who are wanting to progress by building relationships with more senior people within the business to provide career guidance. Companies should also look at offering both internal or external recognised training courses that will enhance the employee skillset. Ultimately, the employee is engaged as they feel their company is investing in their career and the employer gets an employee with a broad skill set. We appreciate that not all companies have the luxury of a Learning & Development function, however there are now many e-learning sites available.

Notable Trends

Throughout the year the more junior roles have been in readily available with candidates having a selection of positions to chose from. Candidates are not just taking into consideration the salaries on offer but also work/life balance and benefits provided.  Flexible working is on the increase and candidates are putting an emphasis on having the opportunity of working from home where possible. Holiday entitlement also seems to be an area where candidates are expecting not just the minimum of 20 days plus bank holidays, this is no longer seen as a benefit!

Throughout 2016 companies seemed to have been slightly more cautious when recruiting for permanent positions and we have seen an increase in employers favouring the temp to perm option.  

 

 

South West Salary Guide

Role Permanent Basic Salary
(£ Per Annum)
Temporary Rate
(£ Per Hour)
Executive Assistant 28,000-32,000 14-17
Office Manager 30,000-35,000 15-18
Personal Assistant 24,000-28,000 12-14
Senior Administrator 22,000-24,000 11-12
Team Secretary 22,000-25,000 11-13
Administrator 18,000-20,000 9-10
Marketing Assistant 18,000-24,000 8-12
HR Administrator 22,000-25,000 11-13
Sales Support 20,000-28,000 10-14
Customer Services 16,000-20,000 8-10
Receptionist 15,000-18,000 8-9
Facilities Assistant / Post Room 15,000-18,000 8-9
Junior Administrator 16,000-18,000 8-9

South West Office Support & Secretarial Roles Commentary

Overview

Bristol is continuing to attract businesses that are looking to expand. During 2016 many companies within the professional services and creative sectors opened offices in Bristol or announced their intention to increase their presence in the city.

In general we have seen a significant increase in demand within the core disciplines of HR & legal. For example, with over 1,000 legal positions available in Bristol, from a recruitment perspective, we have seen a rise in the number of firms looking for legal advisors, paralegals & newly qualified solicitors.

Positive & Negative News

HR advisors and legal advisor roles are in-demand as companies continue to restructure their help desk and HR functions to span nationally. Another trend that has emerged is the increased need for HR pension specialists and legal advisors with pension knowledge, as opposed to HR generalists.    

Qualities & Skills In Demand

Candidates who hold the CIPD qualification with a focus on employee benefits will be a hot commodity. Many of the larger companies are offering study support assistance for the right candidates who are looking to improve their knowledge. Therefore demonstrating a thirst for personal development, upskilling your knowledge and being open to future training will be critical to ensuring you secure your dream position. Those who can also demonstrate leadership and management experience can expect an increase in salary of up to 20%.  

Outside of Work

Individuals can stand out by improving their personal brand via social media e.g. improving your biography and quality of contacts. Employers are interested in what makes you tick so making sure your personal profile is relevant and up to date is critical.

Employers need to promote training opportunities and study support if relevant. Are there options for secondments to alternative departments to enable employees to grow?  Offering a good work life balance and flexibility is as important to employees as salary. Employers should also focus on employee recognition. Offering a structured approach to recognising good performance, such as consistent reviews, 360 feedback etc., will help combat staff retention challenges and improve overall engagement and performance.

Notable Trends

Uncertainty around Brexit has resulted in cautious recruitment, which in turn has led to a rise in contract positions compared to permanent. Surprisingly, these roles are just as prestigious as permanent roles with the quality of candidates applying to contract roles increasing. Bristol attracts a high percentage of locally sourced talent with many graduates choosing to remain or return to the city. One statistic we are delighted to see is the the increase in female candidates applying for senior roles as the market adopts a flexible working approach, while also making the workplace a more equal environment. 

Andrew Kitchen's picture
Manager | Internal Audit
akitchen@morganmckinley.co.uk