Uk   Business Support Q1 18

Business Support Market Insights Q1 2018

Published on 31st January 2018

The demand for talent for Business Support functions within Professional Services will remain extremely strong for 2018. Job flow significantly increased in 2017, particularly at the more senior end of the market and this has continued into the new year. 

Across the board, Professional Services firms are forecasting growth over the next 12 months, with recruitment and retention remaining a strong focus. The market continues to be extremely candidate led and a strong brand identity and decisive recruitment processes are more important than ever for firms.

Skills in Demand

The Legal sector continues to experience a candidate shortage, particularly at the junior end of the market. Firms are looking for candidates that can add real value to their roles and make quick impacts. Candidates that have additional skills ‘outside the norm’ (such as, project management, paralegal, research, finance and languages) are extremely attractive. Outside of Legal, candidate flow is better as firms become more open to hiring candidates outside of the sector.

Predictions for the Coming Quarter

Firms continue to evaluate the best way for their business support functions to operate, however, the appetite to hire remains strong. PA roles continue to diversify with firms adding additional elements to the remit of PA’s; for example, more and more law firms are adding Paralegal duties to their PA and admin roles and increasingly the need for candidates with ‘value-added skills’ are required across all of Professional Services.

We have seen a demand from clients looking for top-notch Executive Assistants to join their business, supporting at Senior level - there has been a lot of buy-in from firms with regards to the tangible benefits of employing this type of candidate and this role continues to evolve. EA’s are strong Business Assistants and offer an extra layer of support at Senior Director level often running small projects, supporting in the day to day management of teams and ensuring that milestones are met. From a candidate perspective, these roles are highly sought after and offer an excellent career path - with many businesses looking to achieve growth targets over the next 18 months this type of candidate has proved invaluable and the benefits to firms and the senior leadership individuals and teams they support has been considerable. 

Early indicators show that the Business Support market continues to be extremely buoyant.  The roles we are working on are diverse and interesting and we expect to see this trend throughout 2018. Functions which have previously been outsourced, such as Document Production, are being brought back in-house.

We have seen a huge increase in passive candidates approaching us, which shows confidence in the market as a whole - the largest motivators for candidates seeking a new challenge are driven by a lack of job satisfaction or a lack of engagement/recognition with a strong brand and inclusive company culture being high on candidates ‘wish lists’.

Advice for Employers

Be decisive – good candidates are not short of options at the moment; speed is of the essence to secure the best talent.

Think ahead – candidates want to develop and progress within their roles so be prepared to answer questions around what the scope of the role on offer could look like over the next 18 to 24 months. 

Engage candidates – with candidates looking for a company and team culture they can engage with and buy into, work with us to help candidates get a sense of the identity of your company and the individual team they would be working with. 

Advice for Jobseekers

Stand out from the crowd – clients are diversifying their business support roles which means responsibilities outside of the norm - think about how you can add value within the role you are interviewing for and what makes you stand out over anyone else that is being interviewed. 

Business Support Salaries Q1 2018

Legal sector

Job titlePermanent salary
per annum (£)
Contract rate per hour (£)
(based on 35 hour week)
PA Manager48K - 75K29 - 46
PA Team Leader38K - 48K23 - 28
PA Coordinator 38K - 44K23 - 27
Executive Assistant to Managing Partner42K - 50K25 - 30
Senior PA to Senior Partner / Management Team39K - 46K24 - 28
Personal Assistant31K - 35K19 - 21
Legal PA to Partner32K - 40K19 - 25
Legal Float Secretary34K - 38K20 - 23
Legal Secretary to Associate32K - 36K17 - 20
Legal Secretary (6-12 months' experience)22K - 28K13 - 17
Trainee Legal Secretary18K - 23K11 - 14
Administrator / Admin Assistant18K - 26K9 - 16
Team Secretary / Assistant25K - 30K17 - 21
Daytime Document Production Manager / Supervisor38K - 46K23 - 28
Document Production Operator33K - 38K20 - 23
Weekend Document Production Operator38K - 42K (pro rata)23 - 25
Evening Document Production Operator*35K - 38K21 - 25
FOH Leadership30K - 40K18 -24
Receptionist / Switchboard Operator24K - 30K14 - 18
Facilities Assistant22K - 27K13 - 16
Post Room Assistant18K - 24K11 - 14
Reprographics Assistant22K - 27K13 - 16

*Discretionary enhancement for twilight/unsociable hours


Practice Sector

Job titlePermanent Salary
per annum (£)                   
Contract rate per hour (£)
(based on 35 hour week)
Office Manager35K - 45K21 - 27
Executive Assistant36K - 40K22 - 24
Senior PA34K - 36K20 - 22
PA                                                                                                                 32K - 34K                                           19 - 20
Secretary / Team Secretary26K - 31K16 - 19
Team Administrator / Administrator                          22K - 25K13 - 15
Receptionist23K - 26K14 - 16
Switchboard operator22K - 26K13 - 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.