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14th Jan, 2022

Philip McSweeney
Philip McSweeney
Job Title
Executive Regional Manager

The future of business support

At the start of the pandemic, many businesses stopped hiring for support functions. However, the demand for customer service, administration, sales, and HR roles has increased drastically in the past year as organisations look to rebuild effective support functions following the pandemic and the return to offices.

Unfortunately, the talent market is sparse. As many companies are focused on retaining talent, those that are looking to change roles often receive counteroffers from their employers, making the movement of professionals even slower. This has led to an increase in salaries for many support positions. For example, administrator salaries have increased across 11 out of the 12 regions in the UK – and remained stable in the other. The West Midlands saw the largest growth in salaries for administrators, with a 22.4% increase in the past year.

Average salaries for office managers have mostly increased across the UK, which can be attributed to the return to offices, as well as businesses increasing their pay offers to attract professionals back after a period of redundancies during the Covid lockdowns. The North West saw office manager salaries increase by 9%, Northern Ireland grew by 9.4%, and the South East saw growth of 11.3%.

Opportunities for employees in 2022

As replenishing their workforces will be a top priority for most employers in 2022, many are happy to look at professionals that don’t necessarily have the experience that they would normally require. This means that there will be many great opportunities for those looking to progress their careers or enter the business support and administration sector.

Jobseekers hold the power in today’s climate, so they should consider what it is they want from a potential employer - whether they are seeking a higher salary, flexible working, or training and development opportunities - before changing roles. That way, they can ensure that the role and company is aligned to their career plans.

Benefits to attract top talent

We conducted a snapshot of over 500 professionals at the end of 2021 to find out their current and preferred salaries and benefits. With many unable to go on holiday for the last year, increased annual leave has become a coveted perk in business support. It was the most popular desired benefit among our respondents, with two-thirds stating that they find it attractive – signalling to businesses that adding more days to holiday allowances is a good way to attract staff.

It’s likely that most professionals will only be attracted to roles that offer remote, hybrid or flexible working options in 2022. Historically, flexible working was thought to be a rare perk, but following the pandemic it has become an expected benefit for most positions. Interestingly, although there was a small drop-off in the popularity of hybrid and remote working compared to the number of people who had access to these working models, this highlights that these benefits are now expected, rather than seen as attractive.

Health insurance was also ranked highly, with 51% of respondents listing it in their top-five benefits, while performance bonuses (48%), annual salary increments (45%) and a higher-than-normal pension (44%) also featured prominently in professionals’ top five.
Businesses will need to look at their salary and benefits offerings closely in 2022 if they want to attract and retain the best staff.

This has never been more important than in today’s market, with a sparse number of jobseekers and companies more in need of talented professionals to help drive business growth and success in the post-pandemic world.

For more information on salaries and benefits in the business support sector, download our free 2024 business support and administration salary guide here.