Hays, the world's leading recruiting experts in qualified, professional and skilled people, has reported a positive increase in the requirement for PAs, particularly to work on temporary and interim assignments.
"The two emerging trends that we have noticed are that employers in all sectors are now more likely to hire PAs on a temporary or interim basis, and secondly, they have far higher expectations from these individuals," said Ben Farrow, Senior Manager at Hays. "There has been a visible shift in private sector recruitment activity and job flow has definitely picked up during the last couple of months not only for temporary but also permanent roles."
This is not surprising in the current environment, as organisations are looking to generate cost efficiencies and value for money. For a PA this typically means an extension of their role, for example, to incorporate office manager or project manager duties.
"Employers are looking for PAs that can take on a range of duties and these could include anything from marketing to HR," added Farrow.
Perhaps more in PA roles than any other job, those looking to help meet the demand for PAs need to ensure that their office skills are kept updated, as employers will expect a high proficiency in Microsoft applications, particularly Excel, Powerpoint and even Access.
When it comes to preparing or updating their CVs, the focus should not only be on the support provided to a manager or director but the other aspects of the role, for example committee membership, office procedures or staff mentoring, all key elements that make up the role of the PA.
"Sometimes it's all too easy to forget or omit some daily tasks but every detail counts to differentiate yourself, given that organisations can afford to be more specific," noted Farrow. "Those individuals that spend time tailoring their CVs for each role are the ones that will succeed in the current market."
Demonstrating their worth and gaining recognition in the workplace is particularly important in the current climate and PAs need to show where they have added value. "Whether it be negotiation, purchasing, cost savings, individuals must always look to add value to their jobs so that their worth can be quantified," added Farrow.
Researching a company is also a key part of the application process and PAs should also find out about the CEO or MD that they will be working for to build up a picture of the organisation and person.
"'Why do you want to work for me?' is an obvious question that they will be asked, so they need to prepared," continued Farrow.
Note to editor:
Hays Secretarial is part of Hays plc (the "Group"), the leading global specialist recruiting group, offering a range of PA and Secretarial jobs. It is the expert at recruiting qualified, professional and skilled people worldwide, being the market leader in the UK and Australia and one of the market leaders in Continental Europe. It operates across the private and public sectors, dealing in permanent positions, contract roles and temporary assignments.
The Group employs 6,933 staff operating from 345 offices in 28 countries across 17 specialisms.
For the year ended 30 June 2009:
- The Group had revenues of £2.4 billion, net fees of £670.8 million and operating profit of £158 million.
- The Group placed around 50,000 candidates into permanent jobs and around 270,000 people into temporary assignments.
- The temporary placement business represented 56% of net fees and the permanent placement business represented 44% of net fees.
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