Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Too Many Jobs, Not Enough PAs; (1) A Chronic Skills Shortage Means Salaries Have Rarely Been Better, Says Penny Cottee (2) ES SECRETARIAL

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Too Many Jobs, Not Enough PAs; (1) A Chronic Skills Shortage Means Salaries Have Rarely Been Better, Says Penny Cottee (2) ES SECRETARIAL

Article excerpt

Byline: PENNY COTTEE

GOOD news for PAs and secretaries - you're in demand! Employers are crying out for top-quality PAs. Even better, firms are putting their money where their mouths are and offering enticing salaries to attract the best staff.

"Overall, the market is very buoyant - too many jobs and not enough candidates," explains Gabrielle Drake, senior manager at the West End office of specialist recruiters Crone Corkill. "Candidates are calling the shots, so it's an exciting time for secretarial and support staff."

The "war for talent" is well under way among employers, agrees Lucy Chamberlain, divisional director at recruitment consultancy Angela Mortimer.

"It's great news for skilled PAs," she says. "Plenty are commanding [pounds sterling]2k-[pounds sterling]3k more now than they did this time last year."

So where can you snap up the best jobs? "Support staff for finance and banking companies, and trading floors, continue to be in great demand," Chamberlain says, " primarily because 80 per cent to 90 per cent of big banks and hedge funds insist on candidates with financial backgrounds, so the pool of talent is relatively small. We're slowly persuading employers of the benefits brought by staff with wider experience, but it takes time to change attitudes."

Richard Grace, joint managing director of London-based recruitment firm Gordon Yates, agrees that finance is the best sector for PAs chasing cash.

"To make serious money, go for the finance sector," he says. "It's the highest-paid area. The City is still booming on all fronts."

However, adds Grace, information from this year's "SecsLife" analysis of rewards and trends among office staff shows salaries are rising fastest among business consultancies, from management consultants to executive search-and-selection firms.

Drake has noted the same trend, and reports that salaries are rocketing in the boutique finance and entrepreneurial areas. "Individuals breaking away from big banks are setting up small operations organisations across London, including the West End, leaving their traditional City home behind," she says.

"These dynamic new firms are preparedto pay what it takes to get the people they want. …

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