Page Personnel’s Gemma McDonald says many employees felt compelled to stay put in their jobs in 2020 because of uncertainty created by the COVID-19 crisis however that’s changed and there’s been a huge 17 per cent increase in job seekers considering new opportunities.
She says the employment market now is very healthy and businesses particularly in resources, healthcare and technology, have recorded quarterly growth since mid-2020.
“As a result of this, companies experiencing growth are in a position to increase employee headcount in a controlled way and we urge small to medium sized businesses in particular, to look at the benefits of creating Executive Assistant roles to really help facilitate company growth,” Ms McDonald says.
“An EA frees executives of their more mundane duties allowing them to focus on what company leaders need to be doing in that critical growth period, driving strategic growth and innovation at the higher level.
“A new EA role lets executives pivot to be a more strategic business, whether that means taking on more technology or improving systems and processes.
“We’re definitely seeing a trend of smaller companies creating Executive Assistant positions because managers see they just can’t do everything themselves.
“They need to be wary however of not diverting EA type work onto other employees because the work could be outside their job description and doing so will overstretch them, create resentment and lead to higher staff turnover and that’s not beneficial to a growing company.”
Page Personnel is one of few agencies that focuses on the executive assistant employee market which means its data base for both EAs looking for new work and clients looking for new EAs is second to none.
The company is extremely active in keeping that data base up to date, hosting quarterly networking events for EAs like ‘meet and greet’ social meetups and workshops aimed at ‘upskilling’ participants.
Ms McDonald says this make it the go-to recruitment company for businesses striving to fill EA roles particularly since at least 80 percent and perhaps as many as 95 percent of candidates at the EA level are passive job hunters unlikely to apply for jobs advertised through other forums like SEEK.
“They are trepidatious to step out of their existing roles especially after the COVID-19 crisis and prefer to have a trusted broker like Page Personnel representing them and delivering the information they need about the new role and new company before making their move.”
Ms McDonald says a good EA is an executive’s ‘gatekeeper’ filtering communication and while also building strong relationships with both internal and external stakeholders and allowing executives to focus on the big picture, rather than be ‘pulled in every direction’.
“A good EA is an extremely good communicator, exceptionally well organised and trustworthy to a fault both professionally and personally.
“They reflect the CEO back to themselves – providing honest feedback and support to help make them a better leader.
This time last year, EA’s were changing employers to secure better working environments and a better branded, more secure and lucrative employer.
However, Ms McDonald says businesses now are finding they need to increase their ‘employee value proposition’ much more to attract top performers.
“Now businesses really need to offer threes things; flexible work not just days times and hours but also location and to trust their EAs to work off-site or different hours; earlier or later than the standard 8am to 6pm.
“They also want learning and development; not so much to earn promotion because typically there is no clear EA career path, but to give them growth opportunities through seminars and workshops like those we provide because previously they just didn’t get those opportunities.
“And working on meaningful projects is a huge incentive – not just being that transactional EA but where they come in and know they are making a difference.”