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Scottish employers should rethink benefits to attract best office support workers

30 April 2014

A new survey by recruiting expert Hays has shown a significant discrepancy between the benefits offered by Scottish employers and what jobseekers rate most highly when looking for a new office support role.

According to the Hays Office Support Salary & Benefits Guide 2014, 76% of employers offer key office professionals a contributory pension as part of a benefits package, followed by 60% offering childcare vouchers. However, when these jobseekers were asked which benefits they rated most highly when considering a new role, only 35% said a pension was important, with 20% citing flexible working as being the second most desirable benefit. Only 2% mentioned childcare vouchers as being important.

“This difference between what employers are offering and the ideal ‘wish list’ of benefits is quite startling,” says Roddy Adair, director of office support for Hays in Scotland. “Employers should take note, because as the jobs market is now improving, so are people’s expectations of what constitutes good benefits from an employer."

“For example, the report really underlines how people are rating flexibility and work-life balance above things like pensions and generous sick pay. And while performance-related bonuses were offered by 38% of employers, only 8% of employees thought this was desirable, with more than 25 days’ annual leave being rated as more important."

“Office support professionals who were previously happy to stay in a secure job are now beginning to look elsewhere for career progression. In order to attract the best talent, employers really need to re-think their benefits packages. Sick pay, which was once considered to be important, if not vital, is now a pretty low motivator for anybody considering a new role.” 

Office support professionals, who include everybody from personal assistants and executive assistants to office administrators, were among the first to be hit by the recession, but many organisations (39%) are expecting to recruit more permanent staff in the next year, and expect them to take on more commercial responsibility.

Scotland has seen growth in SME appointments as confidence continues to return to the market and, although salaries have remained steady over the past year, candidates with specific skills such as diary management, events organisation and advanced IT skills are now beginning to achieve higher salaries. Pay in Aberdeen, in particular, has risen across all sectors, with the oil and gas industry continuing to offer a premium as demand outweighs supply.

Changes in the public sector have created additional opportunities for PAs, including demand for longer-term interim roles. This is particularly the case in Glasgow and Edinburgh where there is also demand for high level executive assistants who can manage complex diaries and act as an ambassador for the senior executive they are supporting.

“Although many office support professionals say they now feel more secure in their jobs, over half (57%) of our respondents said they expect to move jobs within a year. Employers need to work harder to fill important positions and focus more on what they’re offering – which should be more than simply an increase in salary.”

The full Hays Office Support Salary & Benefits Guide can be viewed here
For further information about Hays in Scotland visit:


About the Hays Office Support Salary & Benefits Guide 2014
The guide is based on responses provided by 668 secretarial, office support and contact centre professionals, and 455 employers in organisations of varying sizes and industry sectors nationwide.

About Hays
Note to Editors
Hays plc (the "Group") is a leading global professional recruiting group. The Group is the expert at recruiting qualified, professional and skilled people worldwide, being the market leader in the UK and Asia Pacific and one of the market leaders in Continental Europe and Latin America. The Group operates across the private and public sectors, dealing in permanent positions, contract roles and temporary assignments. As at 30 June 2013 the Group employed 7,840 staff operating from 239 offices in 33 countries across 20 specialisms. For the year ended 30 June 2013:

– the Group reported net fees of £719 million and operating profit (pre-exceptional items) of £125.5 million;
– the Group placed around 53,000 candidates into permanent jobs and around 182,000 people into temporary assignments;
– 29% of Group net fees were generated in Asia Pacific, 40% in Continental Europe & RoW (CERoW) and 31% in the United Kingdom & Ireland;
– the temporary placement business represented 59% of net fees and the permanent placement business represented 41% of net fees;
– Hays operates in the following countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Chile, China, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UAE, the UK and the USA

For further press information please contact:
Sally Masterson
Masterson Media
T. 01875 615007
M: 078 998 12254