PA & Business Support Market Insights Q4 2017

PA & Business Support Market Insights Q4 2017

Published on 14th October 2017

On the tail of a long hot Summer, the last remaining months of 2017 look set to be both interesting and exciting times for Business Support within Professional Services. 

Firms in the Legal sector continue to evaluate efficiencies and effectiveness from their Business Support teams and we have seen news of several restructuring programmes that are due to take place in Q4.  Whilst this can understandably be difficult times for employees and employers alike, these changes are likely to open up new opportunities and help to create a new landscape for 2018. 

Across the whole of the Professional Services sector, Business Support roles remain buoyant – where earlier on in 2017 we saw a trend towards the entry and junior end of the market, we are now seeing more senior end roles coming through as well, mostly through newly created positions or natural attrition. Candidate supply remains a challenge, but more ‘passive’ candidates are approaching the Business Support team at Ambition to discuss career progression, development and new challenges, all of which is positive news. 

Skills in Demand

As always, the Legal Sector continues to struggle with a short supply of candidates – particularly experienced Legal Secretaries and Document Production Technicians, both of which remain in high demand.  Outside of Legal, good quality candidates are still hard to come by, however, with firms now being more open minded to candidates with experience outside of Professional Services, candidate flow is increasing. 

Predictions for the Coming Quarter

We are confident that the Business Support market will continue to remain buoyant and competition for candidates will remain high. Due to the restructuring programmes currently underway, we anticipate temporary and fixed term contract roles to increase and there to be a continuation in passive candidates approaching us to evaluate their options in light of the interesting times ahead for the sector.  

Advice for Employers

Move as quickly as you can – don’t let a slow decision-making process be the reason you lose your candidate of choice – good quality candidates are on average interviewing at 3 or 4 firms; move quickly to secure the right candidate for you. 

Engage candidates – it is key to work with us to engage candidates that you are interviewing and to help them get a real feeling not only for the role and the people they would be working with, but for your culture, values and future goals. Remember the interview process is a 2-way thing and candidates that are interviewing for several firms need to feel an attachment to YOUR business; work with us to help us paint a picture of what a career with you means to prospective candidates.

Advice for Jobseekers

Always be prepared  – give real thought prior to attending interviews about what really resonates with you in respect of the role you are being considered for and the company you are meeting. It is important for firms to truly believe that you want to work for THEM and that you can add long term value. 

Think carefully about your motivators – Before you even start your job search, it is key to really know why you are looking for a new role – a simple ‘I’m bored’ or ‘I want progression’ isn’t enough – dig deep and understand what that new challenge needs to offer you and what that progression looks like for you – it means we can help you target your search more closely.

Business Support Salaries Q4 2017

Legal sector

Job title

Permanent salary
per annum (£)
Contract rate per hour (£)
(based on 35 hour week)

PA Manager

48K - 75K

29 - 46

PA Team Leader

38K - 48K

23 - 28

PA Coordinator 

38K - 44K

23 - 27

Executive Assistant to Managing Partner

42K - 50K

25 - 30

Senior PA to Senior Partner / Management Team

39K - 46K

24 - 28

Personal Assistant

31K - 35K

19 - 21

Legal PA to Partner

32K - 40K

19 - 25

Legal Float Secretary

34K - 38K

20 - 23

Legal Secretary to Associate

32K - 36K

17 - 20

Legal Secretary (6-12 months' experience)

22K - 28K

13 - 17

Trainee Legal Secretary

18K - 23K

11 - 14

Administrator / Admin Assistant

18K - 26K

9 - 16

Team Secretary / Assistant

25K - 30K

17 - 21

Daytime Document Production Manager / Supervisor

38K - 46K

23 - 28

Document Production Operator

33K - 38K

20 - 23

Weekend Document Production Operator

38K - 42K (pro rata)

23 - 25

Evening Document Production Operator*

35K - 38K

21 - 25

FOH Leadership

30K - 40K

18 -24

Receptionist / Switchboard Operator

24K - 30K

14 - 18

Facilities Assistant

22K - 27K

13 - 16

Post Room Assistant

18K - 24K

11 - 14

Reprographics Assistant

22K - 27K

13 - 16

*Discretionary enhancement for twilight/unsociable hours

Practice Sector

Job title

Permanent Salary
per annum (£)                   
Contract rate per hour (£)
(based on 35 hour week)

Office Manager

35K - 45K

21 - 27

Executive Assistant

36K - 40K

22 - 24

Senior PA

34K - 36K

20 - 22


32K - 34K                                           

19 - 20

Secretary / Team Secretary

26K - 31K

16 - 19

Team Administrator / Administrator                          

22K - 25K

13 - 15


23K - 26K

14 - 16

Switchboard operator

22K - 26K

13 - 16


Notes on salary table:

*Discretionary enhancement for twilight/unsociable hours
1. Titles and levels vary from organisation to organisation.
2. The salary ranges given are only approximate guides. For tailored salary advice, please contact us directly.
3. 12-month base salaries are assumed.
4. All other benefits and bonuses are in addition to these figures.