Business Support Market Insights and Salaries Q4 2018

Business Support Market Insights Q4 2018

Published on 1st October 2018

2018 continues to be an extremely busy year for Business Support functions, with new job take-on remaining consistently high, whilst a candidate shortage still presents challenges.

Across the board within Professional Services, the appetite for hiring looks set to continue in terms of new roles coming to market and the replacement of roles through natural attrition.

Skills in demand 

There has been a real increase in EA roles throughout Q3 and into Q4. Firms are continuing to look for senior Business Support professionals with value-add skills such as experience in coordinating, or in some cases, managing projects.

Firms are keen to see candidates at the senior end of the market that can act as true Business Assistants, freeing up Partners, Heads of Group and Senior Partners to work more strategically.

The demand for immediately available candidates to cover temporary assignments and fixed term contract roles is still strong.

We are seeing a real need for temporary candidates to cover long-term absences and to support teams, whilst permanent recruitment is taking place. This is largely down to Business Support teams being stretched to capacity and lengthy hiring processes.

Predictions for the coming quarter

We are hearing of several mid-size firms evaluating the efficiencies and effectiveness of Business Support functions with a view to restructuring and evaluation of the remit and scope of roles across the board.

The traditional Secretarial role remains less in demand, with PA roles becoming far more popular with clients and candidates alike. 

Candidates are keen to secure roles with firms that offer defined career paths, good personal and professional development and the opportunity to really get involved beyond transactional work.

Candidates want to work in environments that will fully immerse them into client support and enable them to feel connected to the work the teams they are supporting are carrying out, rather than sitting on the periphery.

There has been an increase in Junior level roles - often with little or no experience, allowing firms to ‘home grow’ their talent for the future.

The demand for temporary candidates will remain as workflow shows no sign of slowing down.

We are also seeing a little more flexibility from firms considering candidates from a wider Professional Services backgrounds which in turn brings new ideas and innovation into individual sectors.

Advice for employers

Engage with candidates from the outset. When meeting candidate’s, it is vital that you bring the culture of your firm to life for them as this is key to securing the talent you want. A strong first impression goes a long way.

Speed really is of the essence in the current market - good candidates will have multiple interviews lined up and often receive multiple offers - a slow hiring process, from shortlist to offer, will result in lost candidates.

Advice for jobseekers

Prepare - there is no such thing as being too prepared for an interview. You’ll need to have really strong reasons for wanting to work for a firm. Be able to confidently discuss why you are attracted to a particular role and be able to give great examples of what sets you apart from other candidates. Ensure you put a good deal of time and effort into your preparation to secure the move that is right for you.


Business Support Salaries Q4 2018

Legal Sector

Job title Permanent salary
per annum (£)
Contract rate per hour (£)
(based on 35 hour week)
PA Services Manager 65K - 80K 40 - 50 
PA/Secretarial Manager 48K - 60K   29 - 37 
PA Team Leader/Coordinator  38K - 48K 23 - 29
Executive Assistant to Managing Partner 45K - 50K 27 - 31
Senior PA to Senior Partner / Management Team 39K - 46K 24 - 28
Legal PA 36K - 42K 22 - 26
Legal Float Secretary 34K - 38K 20 - 23
Legal Secretary 32K - 36K 17 - 20
Junior Legal Secretary (6 - 12 months experience) 22K - 28K 13 - 17
Trainee Legal Secretary 18K - 23K 11 - 14
Administrator / Admin Assistant 18K - 26K 9 - 16
Document Production Manager / Supervisor 38K - 46K 23 - 28
Document Production Operator 35K - 40K 20 - 23
Weekend Document Production Operator 38K - 42K (pro rata) 23 - 25
Evening Document Production Operator* 36K - 42K 22 - 26
FOH Leadership 33K - 45K 20 - 28
Receptionist / Switchboard Operator 24K - 30K 14 - 18
Facilities Assistant 22K - 28K 13 - 17
Post Room Assistant 18K - 24K 11 - 14
Reprographics Assistant 22K - 27K 13 - 16

*Discretionary enhancement for twilight/unsociable hours

Practice, Property & Consultancy Sectors

Job title Permanent Salary
per annum (£)                   
Contract rate per hour (£)
(based on 35 hour week)
Office Manager 35K - 45K 21 - 27
Executive Assistant 36K - 45K 22 - 27
Senior PA 36K - 40K 22 - 25
PA                                                                                                                  32K - 36K                                            19 - 22
Secretary / Team Secretary 26K - 33K 16 - 20
Team Administrator / Administrator                           24K - 28K 15 - 18
Receptionist 24K - 28K 15 - 18
Switchboard operator 23K - 27K 14 - 17


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. Roles outside of London are likely to be £5K - £10K lower than the salaries indicated above.
4. 12-month base salaries are assumed.
5. All other benefits and bonuses are in addition to these figures.