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Rise of the ‘Hybrid-PA’ spikes demand for support staff

David Morel

Demand for ‘Hybrid PAs’, who combine traditional PA skills with specialist knowledge in areas such as marketing, events and project management, has driven a 36 percent increase in permanent support staff roles in 2018, according to research. The annual report into the UK’s support staff market also reveals a 11 percent growth in salaries, significantly higher than the national average, in reflection of the low unemployment rate and the extra responsibilities these professionals are taking on. Contributor David Morel, CEO – Tiger Recruitment.

Demand surges for business support staff in 2018
The findings, which come from the analysis of the company’s candidate interviews and job placements, demonstrate the increasingly important role that support staff, such as PAs and office managers, play in businesses across a whole range of sectors. Demand for permanent roles increased by 36 percent year-on-year, with PAs increasingly being called on to support with activities as diverse as marketing, social media management, events management, investor relations and project management.

The number of roles for temp and ‘temp-to-perm’ staff also saw a significant uplift of 22 percent and 42 percent respectively year-on-year. Temporary administrators were in particular demand ahead of the introduction of the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulations) in May, due to the increased burden this placed on businesses. The figures highlight a spike in data-related roles, as temps were called on to assist with preparing businesses for the new rules.

David Morel, CEO, Tiger Recruitment, said: “In a fast-moving and uncertain world, managers are realising that support staff are a highly skilled and adaptable resource that can be deployed strategically across various departments to consolidate existing teams. Rather than limiting themselves to hiring for ‘siloed’ roles, businesses are therefore seeking out these ‘Hybrid PAs’, who are just as comfortable organising data, running events or managing marketing campaigns, as they are taking minutes and arranging diaries. And the significant increase in demand shows they’re making a huge difference to business success.”

Salaries increase above national average
Salary levels are rising to reflect the changing nature of support roles, as well as the impact of low unemployment. Permanent salaries for business support staff are up 11 percent year-on-year to £35,948 while graduates entering the support sector have seen salaries rise 13.6 percent, to an average starter salary of £25,000. Furthermore, Tiger’s separate survey of 500 PAs reveals that two thirds (66 percent) of PAs expect a pay rise within the next 12 months, and 33 percent expect a bonus.

Morel commented: “With the average salary in the UK increasing by just 3 percent, the business support market is way ahead of other professions in achieving wage growth. Support staff play a critical role in business success and growth across all industries, so this is a key indicator of the health of the economy now and for the year to come. I expect this positive, candidate-driven market, and business confidence, to continue into 2019 – Brexit or no Brexit.”

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