Q1 Office Support Recruitment Update

Q1 Office Support Recruitment Update

Andrew Kitchen 18.04.2017

Q1 office support recruitment update, monitoring the most up to date salaries and trends.

Non-Banking Financial Services | Contract

Q1 2017 was a quarter of thriving activity in the Business Support space. Following a slow finish in December 2016 the momentum quickly picked up with a number of industries looking to increase headcount and hire within the Business Support space across a variety of levels.

The Asset Management and Brokerage sectors were where we saw the most activity, with over 65% of contract roles being recruited into the buy side space alone. Clients seem determined not to let Brexit put a block on hiring requirements, and appear to have started the year as they mean to carry on.

Job flow was consistent through January, February and March with requirements for: receptionists, office assistants and team assistants/PAs averaging 5 – 7 years experience. 38% of the jobs Morgan McKinley worked on fell in the reception and office assistant category, with 34% being junior level personal assistants.

The table below outlines the in demand roles within the office support contract space and the average hourly rates for these positions: 

Job Title Hourly Rate
Receptionist £13 - £15
Office Assistant £14 - £17
Team Assistant £17 - £19
Personal Assistant £18 - £21
Executive Assistant £19 - £23
Office Manager £20 - £24


A noticeable difference between Q4 2016 and Q1 2017 is the change from ongoing contracts to fixed term contracts. The majority of positions that have come through in the office support contract space have been 5 – 12 month fixed contracts; this has been a positive change as it has given active candidates the reassurance of stability for their assignment with a confirmation of clear start and end date.

Interview processes and onboarding have been efficient and have typically taken no longer than two weeks from the initial briefing to start dates. This has been another positive dynamic for the contract space; in a market that is fast paced and competitive, both the candidate and client are made to feel at ease and confident throughout. Q2 2017 looks set to continue this positive start to the year, with many plans already being discussed for new hires and requirements for contract office support staff.

Non-Banking Financial Services | Permanent

The permanent office support market has seen a complete turnaround in the first quarter of 2017. This is in stark contrast to Q4 of 2016 when the market was flat, firms were replacing permanent leavers with the occasional contract replacement and recruitment levels were generally low. In Q1 2017 the market has picked up significantly, with an abundance of live roles being released. 

The start of the year has really seen a mix of opportunities at all levels. The most prominent positions have been board level executive assistants. Last year these vacancies were nearly nonexistent; however, firms have realised that senior level support is now needed. Other popular roles have been middle level personal assistant positions paying £35,000 - £40,000. These have often included additional duties to make them more exciting, such as fund research and ad hoc project work.

Job Title Salary
Receptionist £25,000 - £30,000
Administrative Assistant £27,000 - £33,000
Team Assistant £31,000 - £37,000
Personal Assistant £36,000 - £42,000
Executive Assistant £38,000 - £45,000
Office Manager £39,000 - £50,000

Candidates from the professional services industry are also in strong demand, transitioning into pure financial services firms. Jobseekers with this sector background have been extremely impressive, which is in sharp contrast to three years ago when financial services firms would have typically rejected applicants from the Big 4. Within financial services, the busiest areas of office support hiring have been within asset management and broking. These types of firms have been very open-minded on individuals' backgrounds, looking at candidates from a wide range of financial services firms. Clients have allowed recruiters to take the lead on guiding them with who is the most suitable candidate for the vacancy.

Due to an increase in permanent roles, firms are now more stringent during the hiring process. Testing candidates on their skills is essential, and we have even seen candidates being rejected on these grounds. With such an impressive start to the year, there is no evidence to suggest things will slow down. Brexit has not scared off medium to small organisations; however, the investment banks have seen some impact, with falling volumes. 

The average salary increase for candidates moving jobs has been 10% in 2017.

Andrew Kitchen's picture
Manager | Internal Audit