Sharing our expertise

Office Support

January - March 2017


Permanent recruitment activity has increased as companies lift, or plan to lift, headcount freezes. A high number of temporary assignments are available, usually to work on projects or bridge the gap while a permanent employee is sourced. Temporary-to-permanent opportunities are also on offer in organisations that want to trial a candidate before offering them permanency.

Over the course of 2016 the balance between the number of roles and candidates shifted. Today quality candidates are in shorter supply. This is most obvious for strong and experienced Sales Administrators, Receptionists, Team Administrators, EAs and PAs in certain states, who often receive multiple offers. Employers are therefore more flexible in their expectations; provided a candidate has suitable transferable skills they will progress to interview stage.

Even states that were heavily impacted by the slowdown in the mining boom are seeing demand for senior level EAs with multi-industry experience and other specialist administration professionals such as Service Administrators, Rostering or Scheduling Administrators and Mobilisation Administrators.

We are seeing a lot of movement in the EA and PA market, resulting from both promotions and turnover. EAs and PAs looking for temporary or contract roles are decreasing in number since more permanent roles are now available. The exception is in financial services, where there are less roles and salary ranges haven’t moved in 18 months.

Another trend is the high number of employers who continue to request multi-skilled candidates who can contribute positively to the culture of an organisation.

Employers need to increase the pace of the recruitment process. Hiring managers who conduct interviews over a two to three week timeframe are now seeing candidates drop out after accepting a role elsewhere.

Hotspots of demand

Skilled Sales Administrators are in high demand to support growth in their sales teams. Candidates need advanced technical skills, especially Microsoft Excel, and the ability to manage large amounts of data. We’ve seen a sharp increase in demand for Sales Administrators in many industries, most noticeably finance (specifically vendor finance), pharmaceutical, telecom and IT.

Given how busy Sales Administrators are, we’re also seeing demand for Schedulers, Planners and Service Coordinators. Schedulers are also sought in response to growth within small to medium businesses.

SAP/Order Processors and Customer Service candidates are also needed. Many organisations have small but highly skilled teams of Order Processors who are required to support the demands of the customers and work with procurement and finance departments to keep money flowing.

We’re also seeing demand for sales support, customer service and administration professionals who have order processing skills. This is in response to some organisations combining these roles.

Administrators with advanced Microsoft Excel skills are also sought. These days administration staff are taking on the responsibility of running complex reports to support the business.

Receptionists are required for temporary assignments covering sick leave or a permanent recruitment process. In the SME market, employers want candidates who can support other parts of the business too. We’re also seeing demand for career Receptionists, or in other words people who want to remain in the function long-term and are experts in the role. Employers value these candidates since they provide stability.

Executive Assistants
are another area of demand. With more roles in the market, candidates have become more mobile and selective. Often candidates leave one role for another offering a higher salary.

Personal Assistants are required too, however the number of available candidates is falling as vacancy activity increases.

ASIC or Corporate Affairs Administrators are needed. This niche administration role encompasses similar, repetitive duties. This skill set is developed on the job and takes some time to master. By the time candidates have strong experience in this role they are looking to move onto something offering more diversity and career development.

Team Administrators with ASIC exposure and accounting sector experience are also sought. Given the specific nature of this experience, there is a shortage of suitable candidates.

Client Services Administrators are another area of demand. As the duties of this role and the salaries on offer are similar from firm to firm, there is little incentive for experienced candidates to change employers. In addition, if candidates want to change jobs it is usually to progress into a PA role.

Legal Secretaries are needed too. Candidates with this experience are highly valued by their current employer because they are in short supply and are therefore well remunerated. Typically they only leave a role in order to change industries due to limited career progression and the lack of scope to take on special projects.

Project Administrators and Project Support Officers are also sought to work on specific projects for a set length of time. Candidates usually require a large set of skills. Given the high number of projects underway, these candidates are in high demand.

Document Controllers are needed in the construction industry to assist with project work.

Finally, Data Entry Officers are in demand. Few pure data entry roles exist anymore, so when one becomes vacant there are a limited number of suitable candidates. There is also a shortage of Data Entry Officers with SAP knowledge.

Jobseeker trends

As vacancy activity increases, candidates have become more selective in their job search. Those with skills in demand now receive multiple offers and do not remain available for long. Counter offers are also being made, although they are rarely successful. For more, see Why it’s never a good idea to accept a counter offer.

When looking for their next role, candidates rank a good company culture, benefits, on-the-job training and career progression as important. Due to increased workloads and the diverse skill sets required for support roles, those in the eastern states are also looking for a competitive hourly rate or salary. Meanwhile those in the West value job security and longevity.

Flexible working hours are also important, with early starts and early finishes most highly sought after. More candidates look for part-time roles too.

A lot of candidates are actively seeking temporary work in order to experience different roles and industries before looking for a permanent job.

How to get a job in 2017

If a new job is on your radar this year, you need a strong story, consistent brand and proof that you can add value. Watch expert tips from hiring managers. For all our videos, click here