Talent mismatch’ looming for EAs, PAs

Two separate labour market surveys show employers are concerned with the lack of highly-skilled EAs and PAs while the overall number of job opportunities is increasing.

These findings come as the office support job market continues to evolve, with Executive Assistant jobs less focused on traditional duties and more project-driven.

According to data from SEEK, the number of Administration & Office Support jobs advertised is up 8% year-on-year to August 2017.  Overall, job ads are at the highest volume since 2010.

Meanwhile, the 2017 Hays Global Skills Index, published in collaboration with Oxford Economics, points to a mismatch between the skills employers want and those that jobseekers actually possess.

Australia’s increase from 5.1 to 5.5 on the overall Index – the highest since 2013 – shows it is more difficult to secure the right talent now than it was a year ago.

“Australia’s fluid job market is delivering career advancing opportunities, but the talent required for these roles is changing,” said Alex Jones, Regional Director of Hays Office Support.

“Experienced Executive Assistants are in short supply for both permanent and temporary roles. Roles supporting multiple partners or an entire executive team are more common, but less appealing to candidates, who prefer a one-to-one support position at C-suite level.

“Also, with many executives more self-sufficient thanks to technology, Executive Assistant positions require candidates with project skills who can assist with ad-hoc events, functions or other business related projects.

“We’re also seeing more demand for hybrid candidates, particularly in the SME market. For example, PAs who can assist with marketing duties. However such skill sets are rare.

“Another trend is the rise in the number of employers requesting candidates from a similar industry background. For example, banks seek candidates from financial backgrounds and law firms want candidates with legal experience.

“But with such candidates in short supply, we advise employers to become more flexible and broaden their criteria beyond specific industry experience,” said Alex.