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Office Support - Public Sector

April - June 2014

Hotspots

 

AdministratorsWhile this role can be varied, it typically requires filing, records and basic secretarial skills. Candidates with experience dealing with finance, travel, projects and EA support are also sought as support is centralised and productivity maximised.  Demand for experienced public sector administrators has increased across a number of departments, particularly for temporary assignments. We are also seeing a number of administration roles to support specific projects.

 

Project Officers – Project is a real ‘buzz’ word in the public sector. Many roles are becoming ‘project’ orientated and have specific start and end dates. In addition, not-for-profit and charity organisations are using Project Officers for grant orientated work where there is a specific budget and timeframe. Often these roles also involve administration duties specific to a particular project or grant.

 

Receptionists – Vacancies for Receptionists have been more prevalent in the not-for-profit and charity sector than in government. Typically employers look for Receptionists who can do more than phone management; they want candidates with some experience, who can perform entry-level administration tasks and who are switched on and a good team fit.

 

Minute Takers – Demand exists for temporary candidates who can sit in on meetings and take competent minutes

 

Data Entry Clerks – Employers are looking for temporary candidates who can sort through their backlog or cover leave. A lot of organisations are starting to get penalized for not updating specific information and as a result demand is high for Data Entry Clerks to assist.

 

Customer Service – These candidates are sought in the government sector to take enquiries relating to government programs and communicate and respond to enquiries regarding changes to legislation.

 

Scribes - We have seen increased demand for experienced Scribes following the rise in senior level recruitment within the public sector, mainly in health and social services areas in Queensland. With no permanent recruitment in the Federal Government at present, there are few requirements for scribes in this area, but we expect this will change with some recruitment activity following the release of the budget in May.

 

Executive Assistants – Candidates are in high demand but short supply. Many organisations have restructured and their new top management, typically CEOs, Directors or General Managers, are looking for Executive Assistants to support them. Senior Executive Assistants are also sought. Some employers are also looking for Executive Assistants who are capable of supporting multiple executives in response to budget constraints. Previous public sector experience is not as crucial as the classic EA skills of minute taking and correspondence. Specific systems experience is also sought, including TRIM and SAP or experience with ministerial coordination or project support. 

 

Personal Assistants – Similarly, Personal Assistants are in high demand in the public sector, often from smaller not-for-profits or charity organisations. Such employers need candidates with experience supporting events, travel and emails, as well as the ability to perform general ad hoc administration duties.

 

Records Officers and ManagersWith a back log of filing there is an increased need for TRIM and Objective experts who can handle large volumes of records. Several large projects have been created within government to manage this.  Information Management has been a large focus for some government departments and the transition to all digital record keeping has created work in this space. But these roles often pay low salaries, which is why there is a shortage of candidates willing to consider them. Often suitable candidates move into freedom of information roles for the higher salary on offer.

 

Security cleared staff – These candidates are in constant demand in Canberra, particularly those who are immediately available and hold a NV1 or NV2 clearance. Such candidates are needed across all office support positions.

 

Trends

 

Within the government sector, the focus is on temporary assignments. Most contracts are offered on a three-month basis, with a view for extension. When hiring, employers typically look for a diverse background across finance, customer service, legal and project support, and will often recruit at a lower level such as APS 2/3 despite holding expectations for performance at a higher level.

 

Other public sector organisations, including not-for-profits, NGO's and tertiary education have strong levels of vacancy activity. The focus is often for traditional support roles, such as Executive Assistants and Minute Takers. They are also hiring more frontline staff, such as Customer Service Officers and front-counter Administrators, in order to improve customer service.

 

Employers are hiring both temporary and permanent staff and are looking for candidates with relevant and specific skills to differentiate themselves in the market.

 

However many also continue to amalgamate roles, such as reception and administration, or executive assistant and administration.  

 

Candidates with generalist and low level skills   are increasing, although quality candidates remain in short supply.

 

This quarter, as we approach the end of financial year, the number of project-specific temporary roles will increase.  

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