Hays, specialist recruiter, reports that although recruitment in some areas of the commercial market has slowed, the demand for PAs in the public sector is holding firm. A number of opportunities are being created, particularly temporary positions, in the health, central government and education sectors.
The public sector is increasingly becoming an employer of choice for PAs, primarily as a result of added job security, pensions, and work-life benefits. For example, some Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) are currently embarking on a programme of recruiting permanent staff.
"As well as a buoyant demand for temporary positions in the public sector, we are experiencing growth for permanent PA roles, especially within the education sector, which is evident in the roles we have recently recruited to. This trend is also reflected in those being advertised in the press," commented Bethan Robbins, Regional Manager for Hays Secretarial.
Despite the economic backdrop, there are good opportunities for PAs with a commercial background to enhance their careers and gain new experiences by moving into the public sector. While prior experience is sometimes seen as an advantage and is preferred in some cases, skills can be transferred from one sector to the other. This has been borne out by recruitment volumes.
Bethan Robbins explained: "We have seen an increase in the number of candidates with commercial or banking experience, applying for advertised jobs online, and subsequently registering with Hays Secretarial. It is, however, important that PA jobseekers have a solid grasp of the challenges and demands of the public sector and understand how the various organisations operate."
The health sector is one such sector where there remains a strong demand for temporary staff. However, the demand for experienced medical secretaries working on temporary placements can fluctuate depending on the time of year and is a trend that Hays has been seeing throughout the whole of Greater London.
A previous Hays survey revealed that the interest generated in public sector jobs has increased significantly: almost three in four respondents are now more likely to consider a move to the public sector than at the same point last year. The majority are also prepared to take some form of pay cut in exchange for improved job security within the public sector. "Many of these candidates will consider a reduction in salary as the trade-off for job security in the current job market," confirmed Bethan Robbins.
Hays Secretarial is part of Hays plc, the leading global specialist recruitment group and specialises in PA and secretarial jobs including senior, medical and legal secretary jobs. Hays is the market leader in the UK and Australia, and one of the market leaders in Continental Europe. At the end of June 2008, the Group employed 8,872 staff operating from 393 offices in 27 countries across 17 specialisms.
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