Following the United Kingdom’s decision to leave the EU in June 2016, London has seen a sharp increase in temporary office support vacancies across industries, that has continued to rise in the approach to the leaving date, March 29th 2019.
During this period, many businesses have undertaken strategic workforce planning to best utilise their existing workforce, while optimising for upcoming uncertainty within the market. This uncertainty has resulted in many companies undertaking an extended workforce as an interim solution, creating temporary vacancies to sustain their core operational efforts.
Since the decision to leave the EU, London, in particular, has witnessed a decline in overseas candidates, which has already been highlighted as a large contributing factor in the supply of good quality staff within the capital by the REC in their December report on jobs. This decline is expected to continue over the coming months and increase competition to retain office support, and secretarial staff members as available vacancies continue to rise.
Businesses are currently investing in short-term contracts for office support staff at all levels to mitigate the delay in hiring permanent members of staff while calculating risks leading into the new financial year and the finalisation of Brexit. During this process, the market has witnessed a marked influx of available temporary positions as competition for talented individuals continues, and available skills continue to become more sparse.
This decline has resulted in a sharp increase in temp pay throughout the final quarter of 2018 and is expected to maintain growth leading into Brexit. The competition for workers is one of the main contributing factors leading to an increase in pay pressures. As businesses are keen to retain company productivity during this period, and confidence in the UK labour market grows steadily, businesses continue to support investment in their key growth initiatives for operational roles within the core of an organisation.
While London experiences an acute skills shortage, temporary workers are becoming imperative in assisting the deliverance of business objectives through excellent relationship management and their pre-emptive approach towards tasks and responsibilities.
Talented professionals are aware of the current market demand for those with acute skill sets such as operational awareness, commercial acumen, and comprehension of the wider business.
Businesses that offer this higher pay package, along with the following opportunities strongly position themselves with a competitive edge to secure sought-after talent:
As the remit of office support and secretarial staff expands and the role develops complexity, individuals seek to take on more responsibility and upskill their current expertise.
This progression is focused on the cultivation of commercial acumen, planning, with an awareness of budgeting. These are the positions that we are witnessing emerge at the senior personal assistant and executive assistant roles.
At the junior scale, there is a focus on involvement within business operations, provided with the opportunities to understand the responsibilities and challenges of various teams as the individual becomes varied within their support function before later developing within a singular sector, or executing team support at an executive level.
At the senior end, accomplished EA’s and PA’s continue to seek to work alongside c-suite and board level executives. As relationship management skills have developed throughout their career, they feel comfortable working with clients, and internal stakeholders, to develop these internal relationships and become a core individual within the operational functions of an organisation.
Junior candidates in high demand are seeking to develop their soft skills within the work environment and be offered opportunities to consistently build successful relationships internally within the company with confidence to demonstrate their added value within the business.
Across the market, sought-after office support and secretarial professionals are seeking to expand beyond the confines of their job specification.
Overall, as the market is competitive, individuals are seeking positions in which they feel valued and challenged, growing their resume with each of their accumulated skills.