A new financial year typically sees office support vacancy activity increase as employers address the need for additional support. This year is no different and this quarter will reflect this trend.
At present the permanent market is very strong, especially in Sydney where there is a huge candidate shortage. New roles are being created and employers want candidates who can start immediately.
For temporary roles, employers are more open to candidates who lack local experience as they can still perform the role and have the necessary technical skills.
Residential and commercial construction companies are very busy in several states and are recruiting at the senior level for Executive Assistants, Office Managers and Senior Project Administrators. Senior support is a priority as more residential developments come online and increase workloads. For these roles, employers prefer candidates with industry experience.
Quality candidates are in short supply and are usually already in jobs. Therefore notice periods need to be taken into consideration by employers.
When they recruit, personality and cultural fit remain important. In addition, more employers are asking for degree qualified candidates.
We continue to see a trend of organisations blending multiple functions into a single role. For example, receptionists are also completing administration and even accounts or PA duties, and Office Managers are taking on HR and project work.
More employers are offering part-time roles, which require flexible candidates who are prepared to work part-time hours initially but who are able to change the hours they work in response to workload increases or decreases. Candidates need to be open to this and flexible in order to secure these opportunities.
Finally, even in companies where redundancies are taking place, departments are restructured and candidates then reapply and reinterview for the new roles.
Hotspots of demand
Executive Assistants with strong EA experience are in high demand in the private sector. In addition, Executive Assistants and Office Managers are needed for permanent roles in the construction industry. As organisations transfer executives from overseas, EA’s are required to support them, while organisations moving into larger offices require Office Managers to support the move and look after backend functions.
Personal Assistants at the $60,000 to $70,000 level are in demand. While there are a lot of candidates at the senior level, there is a shortage of candidates at this level.
Receptionists are also sought. Candidates often use this role as a stepping stone to other office support roles and therefore turnover is high. This is also the reason that candidates with prior reception experience who want to remain in the role long-term are sought. Temproary candidates are also sought to cover sick leave.
Administrators are another area of need. Businesses are promoting from within in order to retain good talent. Administrators are also sought in the finance industry due to an improving property and investment market.
Data-Entry Administrators are sought as companies implement more comprehensive and versatile systems and need assistance transitioning their data. These candidates are also sought in order to manage backlogs.
Industry specific, experienced and highly professional Legal Secretaries are in high demand. Experienced Legal Secretaries often want to move to roles outside the legal industry due to the lack of career progression and the demanding nature of the role. In addition, the legal industry is changing in shape and size and organisations are merging, which often results in cultural changes and the need for new staff who are the right fit.
Professional Practice Administrators are also sought. However there is a shortage of experienced candidates who wish to remain in these roles. The lack of career progression can hold many candidates back from wanting to remain in this role long term.
Medical Receptionists are another area of demand. Candidates are moving out of this role to other office support roles given the fast-paced and often stressful nature of this job.
Candidates with experience in the aged care industry are also sought as temporary work increases. Those with rostering experience are also sought for temporary roles. Employers will not accept candidates without experience, however the high workload associated with this role means there is a shortage of suitable and interested candidates.
There is also a need for Customer Service Officers/order entry in FMCG and retail organisations, which are quite buoyant.
Order Administrators with SAP skills are in demand in manufacturing and FMCG companies that need more people to process orders. SAP is one of the largest ERP systems that companies use to raise purchase orders, therefore SAP experience has become a must in every order processing candidate.
Documentation Officers and Logistics Administrators with imports/experts experience are sought, however there is a shortage of candidates with this experience.
Within the busy construction sector, Contracts Administrators and Site Administrators with a construction background are needed as residential workloads increase.
Document Controllers are sought to work on major commercial construction projects, in particular within the subcontractor space. As main contactors and builders raise their expectations in terms of documentation and compliance, subcontractors need to recruit these skills.
Project Administrators are needed too for both temporary and permanent roles in the construction industry to support Project Managers.
Sales Administrators with property experience are also in demand, however there is a shortage of candidates for this highly demanding role. Candidates need to be prepared to also act as a PA to top sales representatives.
Mandarin speaking candidates with a property background are in demand too, including Administrators, Personal Assistants, Receptionists, Residential Construction Customer Service Administrators and Real Estate Administrators.
Finally, residential construction Client Liaison Administrators are needed in the busy residential construction market as workloads increase.
The new financial year and new budgets have brought with them a general sense of candidate confidence since permanent and temporary hiring intentions are positive.
Candidates are up-skilling to keep up with the market, but need to be more realistic in their salary expectations.
When considering their next role candidates are looking for work-life balance and job satisfaction. Since employers’ requirements have become more demanding, yet many salaries are not increasingly accordingly, some candidates are instead negotiating workplace conditions and flexibility around working hours. Cultural fit is also important to candidates.
In Western Australia the mining industry slowdown has reduced the rates on offer to candidates. As a result, candidates want city-based roles in order to work closer to home to compensate.