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Office Support - Public Sector

January - March 2016

The use of temporary and contract office support staff remains high across all levels of government and we expect this to continue this quarter.

Project-based departments are also telling us they need more staff for short-term contracts to ensure key milestones are on track and delivered.

In addition, restructures and new processes are making it more difficult for managers to hire staff on a permanent basis. In response, managers in Sydney across all levels of government are adding temporary staff to their teams as a way of gaining extra resources quickly and more simply. Certainly Local Government employers are keen to engage candidates on a temporary basis so they can start right away but with a view of making roles permanent.

In the Not-for-Profit (NFP) sector we are seeing a change in recruitment needs after funds from the Federal Government were reduced. NFP employers are making more use of contract staff on lower wages but with more responsibilities.

We expect to continue to see a steady flow of candidates this quarter to fulfil specific needs for skills and technical competencies such as security clearances and high-level executive support.

Many of the Executive Assistant roles we are currently recruiting are due to the internal movement of executives in the organisation.

Skills in demand

In terms of the January to March quarter security cleared Executive Assistants are expected to remain in high demand for roles in the ACT. Candidates with an active or inactive security clearance will find work.

More general traditional EA skills are not being development in many government organisations, which means Executive Assistants with classic training and skills in secretariat, board support and minute taking plus experience providing direct support to a CEO are in high demand.

We are still seeing vacancies for support roles across various departments as a result of Machinery of Government (MOG) changes creating movement at the senior levels.

Security cleared Project Officers are in demand as a number of government departments and agencies ramp up delivery of key milestones. Internal disruptions in recent times including a change in Prime Minister has a number of projects running slightly behind schedule generating the need for additional staff to hit deadlines.

Election activity is already under discussion in many departments and includes plans to hire staff to engage in briefs and requests as well as handle external stakeholder engagements. This is creating demand for Secretariat/Ministerial Officers.

As several agencies disband internal service teams and outsource these, quality Call Centre Support staff will be in demand.

Three-month contracts for a range of office support roles are being created while permanent roles are advertised externally and internally. Those taking on these temporary roles are eligible to apply for a permanent role.

Administration Assistants are in continuous demand. Candidates need to be well-organised multi-taskers with solid computer and software skills.

The lifting of recruitment freezes is resulting in several state government departments recruiting for roles such as Project Support, Executive Assistants, Receptionists with solid experience and Administration Officers, particularly those with experience in Ariba and Oracle.

Records Managers are in demand specifically within the health sector to assist with the implementation of new records management systems.

In the Northern Territory, Project Officers with strong project, budgeting and organisational skills are in high demand for roles in government organisations and the NFP sector.

Candidates with reception skills plus good administration experience are in demand for roles with combined duties.

Scribes are also in demand for roles in the public sector in the Northern Territory and the ACT.

Candidate trends

While many candidates still want a full time permanent role, a greater number are open to temporary and non-ongoing work as long as it is of considerable length such as six months.

In addition to this, we are finding that candidates willing to engage in three to six month temporary assignments will move before completing the assignment if given the option of securing a longer-term contract.

A higher number of candidates also want to work closer to home in outer suburbs or regional areas and are not prepared to travel to the CBD.

We are also seeing greater interest from private sector candidates to work in the public sector.

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