Office support and secretarial 2018 salary guides for permanent and contract across the home counties shows increased rates for short term hires.
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Overall it was a positive year for office support recruitment across the home counties - with a positive outlook for hiring in 2018. After the hiring hesitancy experienced in 2016, naturally we entered 2017 with an uncertainty about how Brexit and other political factors would influence the market. Business as usual had to continue while awaiting the decision of when article 50 would be triggered and how this would affect confidence in the UK employment market. Throughout the year however, these fears were not realised and the demand for office support workers increased up to 20% in new roles becoming available in the market compared to 2016 as well as a positive trend of job seekers looking to secure new roles in this sector.
While overall it was a positive outlook, there are notable trends to consider in the market place. In many areas there has been stagnation in salaries, which as a result was the reason for the increase in job seekers looking for new roles in the office support job market - expecting this job move to be the only way to secure a pay increase. Certain geographical areas within Surrey seem to be on this stagnant trend.
In contrast however, both entry level and graduate salaries continued to increase, starting on average at least 10% higher than previous years. Interestingly, the biggest increase was within temporary pay rates, which looks likely to continue increasing throughout 2018. A welcome change in the office support sector, which has been slow to adapt to hire contractors to compensate for unpredictability, lacking benefits and short term contracts.
As the focus areas for the new year migrate more aggressively into 2018, we expect to gain momentum and see increased demand from companies wanting more for value for their spend and increased value from recruitment partners both internally and externally.
There has already been a trend of recruitment processes taking longer than before, as hiring managers are more pressured to find the right person that is able to fulfil the exact requirements for a role. In many instances there has been 3rd and 4th stages introduced in the process which involves video screening, psychometric and mental agility testing methods. These types of interviews are a new requirement that, similar to competency based interviews require job seekers to be fully prepared and be precise in order to be successful.
There has been decreasing demand for traditional PA roles, executive assistant jobs and basic processing functions as companies are searching for talent with the ability to get involved in the development of the wider business and are able to improve internal processes and efficiencies even at junior levels.
Annual salary reviews are on the whole, a thing of the past, so for those looking to secure salary increases should consider alternative methods of approaching this. These include having the relevant discussions with the relevant people upfront and having SMART goals that are agreed to upfront with financial reward being the measure for success.
Talented individuals that make a difference, improve process and whether directly or indirectly impact the bottom line, will always be sought after and well rewarded. Businesses must remain mindful of what reward looks like for the current profile of office support workers. Financial reward is of course still a main priority but the ability to expand skill set, balance work and life and be recognised play a key role too.
The main focus area affecting almost all business for 2018 will undoubtedly be GDPR; perhaps a welcome change from Brexit, but it’s certainly not without it’s own complications. The EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is the most important change in data privacy regulation in almost 20 years. Unlike many regulation changes previously seen, the GDPR comes with substantial fines and therefore businesses cannot afford to be in any breach. While office support roles play a key role in the way a company's data is controlled and handled. We can expect to see a change in the profile and requirements of these roles moving forward.