global recruitment specialists
Executive Support Market Overview
A year in review…
Throughout 2013 we have seen an increase in positions for experiences Executive Assistants which has been the strongest rise since the GFC, particularly within the Finance and Property sectors. There continue to be number of options available to EAs across the market which is bringing about frequent changes in roles.
There has also been an increased demand for temporary staff as employers test the market with a flexible workforce. A number of these roles have converted from temp to perm providing a great opportunity for candidates. Clients have also increased focus on client service roles and in maximising client retention and supporting functionalities that improve cost efficiencies.
Adapt to survive…
From a support perspective, clients are looking for a broader skill set from candidates. For example Administrators are in demand with advanced excel skills, whereas in the past intermediate experience was ample; EAs whom have traditionally worked one on one with Executives have had to diversify and now generally support two or three Executives or their direct reports. Many executives are also now more self-sufficient.
Talent pool vs. demand…
For the most part we are seeing the number of candidates in the market supporting the demand. However, there is more quantity than quality. Employers demand is for experienced candidates who have a strong culture fit with industry experience. Reception/Administration roles have been combined, and Administrators need advanced Microsoft Office skills and strong all-round support skills.
There are many candidates in the Admin market who don't necessarily meet the requirements of clients. Some EAs are also exiting the support market into project management positions as the next step in their careers, particularly within the Technology sector. However we are seeing a shortage of experienced candidates within Property and Legal industries.
The year ahead…
Generally the market is expected to stay fairly stable throughout 2014; however employers will remain cautious about hiring support roles.
Whilst support roles are seen as a cost to a business, they are essential to business operations and delivery and as such we expect to see businesses continue to use temporary support staff tapping into flexible work force arrangements, which will often result in temp to perm opportunities for candidates.
Candidates should ensure their resume is tailored to the role being applied for - they will need to stand out from the crowd. Jobseekers should research the organisations with which interviews are taking place and make sure enough time has been given to preparation.
If applying for temp work, it is important to remember to be flexible in the first assignment and prove reliability, flexibility and commitment which won't go unnoticed. This may in turn lead to a temp to perm opportunity as employers will look for evidence of stability and commitment for permanent roles.
For jobseekers there is a lot of competition in the market, so the need to stand out is important. Candidates with strong skill sets, stability and industry experience are in demand. Due to internal and external factors the interview process is generally longer and involves more steps, however, good candidates will often find themselves with more than one offer on the table.
Hiring managers on the other hand need to ensure that during the interview process one must sell the organisation to the candidates and find out their motivators. Remember it's a two way process and the candidate is also interviewing you whilst deciding which organisation to work for. Good candidates will often have more than one opportunity on the table, so make it easy for them to say yes. Furthermore, recruitment decisions will need to be made quickly or there is the danger of losing the top talent.
Candidates need to feel bought into the interview process and the interviewers. Employers need to focus on retention and in offering flexible working arrangements to retain and attract the best talent in the market in order to remain competitive.