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Salary Survey 2020
2020 has certainly been an extraordinary year in almost every way; in the support staff recruitment sector we saw an almost complete halt on hiring during the first lockdown as many businesses furloughed their staff and ran minimum level operations during this initial phase of the pandemic. However, as businesses adjusted to working remotely the latter half of the year saw significant improvements and much more mobility across the job market than we might have expected. With the furlough scheme initially planned to end on October 31st we did see redundancies, however the levels were not as high in the support staff sector as had been forecasted and during this time we also saw our greatest increase in businesses looking to hire new employees.
Out of all the roles we recruit for, senior level EAs have been in most demand this year and we have seen their salaries increase most significantly. During the pandemic it became obvious to many businesses just how important their senior level support staff were as many took control of organising remote working logistics and ensuring offices ran smoothly from different desks across the country. Their flexibility and skill set were praised, and we have spoken to many clients who say that their EA or PA has been even more invaluable than normal this year.
However, as is to be expected, it is lower-level positions, especially entry level roles, that have suffered the most in 2020 and seen no increase in salary expectations. Support staff in lower positions typically need more guidance and mentoring, they benefit from being in the office and learning from their colleagues and therefore run the risk of not being as productive when working from home. Similarly, receptionists and front of house positions have seen little increase in their base salary and these positions are equally at risk with so many offices still not open.
The temp market has also been affected by COVID-19. While temps are usually in higher demand around the holiday season, this year we haven’t seen the usual spikes in demand. The number of clients requesting temporary cover has fallen, and therefore, their typical hourly wage has not significantly changed. However, we have seen a notable increase in contracts. While companies are less likely to hire people on a day rate in the short term right now, they are much more likely to do it for a longer-term contract, say 3-5 months. This gives an employer the flexibility to hire a new member of staff without committing to a permanent hire. In reaction to this we have seen many candidates willing to take on contracts rather than full time positions in the hope they will go permanent.
With news of a vaccine and the continued adjustments by companies to working in the ‘new normal’ we remain tentatively optimistic for 2021. The trend towards the end of this year has been one of clients planning for more hires and, although the market is in the employer’s hands at the moment, the competition for roles does not seem to have pushed down salary expectations. There are some exceptionally high-quality candidates currently looking for work therefore from an employer perspective the beginning of 2021 is a very good time to seek out talent and hire.
To compare these figures with last year view our 2019 Salary Survey here.