Employers will always need support functions, and with more employees returning to work after furlough, businesses are starting to get back to almost pre-COVID-19 levels and we are seeing more opportunities arising in the sector.
Employees have been seeking more workplace flexibility for years, and the pandemic has forced businesses to adapt their policies and adopt new ways of working. Remote working requires trust from both sides. Employers need to trust their employees to continue to work productively from home, and employees need to trust their employers to support them remotely. This has been widely successful and is something that many are now coming to expect from their companies.
In addition to remote working, the integration of technology has been a huge challenge, yet also a great opportunity for the sector. We have seen tech accelerate at an unprecedented rate this past year, and this is only going to grow as businesses look to improve the systems they put in place as a short-term fix during the pandemic.
In-demand business support roles
Ecommerce has seen a real growth over the past year. Online shopping has been steadily increasing over the last few years, and the pandemic has accelerated this growth. Warehouse operatives are increasingly sought-after, particularly in sectors that manufacture products related to the pandemic.
There are also new roles emerging in facilities management that are directly related to COVID-19, including positions which ensure social distancing is in place, providing hand sanitiser upon entry to buildings, and regular cleaning of shared spaces.
These jobs may be temporary, but as we begin to recover from the pandemic, it will be interesting to see if any of these roles remain or if further positions emerge.
Business support salaries and benefits
Salaries may have initially dropped at the beginning of the pandemic, but we are seeing them return to normal, and even grow, in most areas. The sector has seen a 3.9% average growth in salaries across the UK.
Businesses should be careful not to assume that people are grateful for ‘just any role’ during these uncertain times and be tempted to lower salaries and remove additional benefits.
In a recent REED survey, we found that the most desired benefits for business support professionals were more paid time off/holiday allowance, flexibility, health insurance and performance bonuses.
What salaries can you expect?
Reed’s 2021 Business Support Salary Guide allows you to benchmark the most popular roles in the business support industry across 12 UK sectors.
Salaries in London grew by 2.5% across the sector. Some of the most notable roles where pay has gone up are purchasing administrators and customer service advisors, who have seen 5.5% and 4.5% growth respectively.
Unsurprisingly - due to the closure of many offices - office managers in London have seen a 4.9% reduction in salaries and can expect an average salary of £39,100 in 2021.
Of the 12 UK regions, Wales has seen the largest average growth in salaries – 10.7%. With the Welsh government taking a more cautious approach to COVID-19, businesses have faced increased challenges, however, this does not appear to have affected salaries in the region.
Marketing assistants can expect to receive a salary of £22,300, which has increased from £20,200 in 2020. This may be due to businesses relying heavily on their marketing functions during the pandemic. Personal assistants have seen a 5% increase in salaries this year and can anticipate a salary between £23,600 and £26,600.
While the market is slow in the region, we have seen greater demand for professionals in the supply chain sector and, of course, administrative positions in the NHS. This can be demonstrated by the 5% increase in administrator roles this year, with an average salary now of £21,200.
Perhaps due to some businesses in the region streamlining their product offerings, we have seen a 3.7% decrease in purchasing assistant salaries this year.
Businesses in the region appear to be prioritising their customer service functions, illustrated by the 8.1% increase in pay for customer service managers and 8.2% rise for customer service advisors this year.
For more information on what you could be earning, or the salaries you should be paying, download your free Reed Business Support 2021 Salary Guide now. The guide contains insight and salary data for the industry across the UK and will help you make informed decisions in the year ahead.