Shift in temporary professionals transitioning to permanent roles in Q2

Sharon O'Donnell - 09/07/2018
Q2 Review

Longer lasting FTCs reflect the ongoing positive market sentiment for 2018:


The market as a whole, has been lively with strong hiring activity at all levels throughout the second quarter. This buoyancy was mirrored across both temporary & permanent office support positions. On the permanent side, there has been movement across all sectors within organisations, with increased internal promotions and organizational expansion resulting in many new vacancies.

To add to the positive market sentiment, there have been a number of job announcements that are forecasted to generate opportunities at all levels for Office Support professionals. After substantial growth in recent years, Elevare have announced 50 new roles in Dublin to help further bolster their Irish operation.  Regionally, Abtran have also added to the positive news as they are planning to recruit up to 350 professionals to their new operations centre in Sligo.

With a forecasted 4.9% growth in the Republic of Ireland’s GDP by the end of 2018; Irish businesses are undeniably thriving in the current climate. Such widespread growth has had a notable effect on FTCs throughout the second quarter with organisations displaying a willingness to engage in longer fixed term contracts. Previously, this would have only been heard of in the case of extended maternity leave or sick leave cover.

Another interesting development has been the sizable shift in temporary professionals converting to permanent positions. Companies who previously relied heavily on long term temps, due to limited headcount capacity, now have the budget available that supports expanding the overall headcount of the business.

Office Support Q2 Review

Senior Executive Assistants (Senior EAs) were at the top of the agenda for hiring managers, with a notable shortage in supply of top quality professionals in this field. This talent drought has lead to upward pressure on remuneration levels with employers facing strong competition in the battle for talent of interest.

In the second quarter, the expectation level of employers had substantially risen, with hiring managers taking a more critical approach in their evaluation of prospective talent. Across the board, businesses displayed a considerable level of patience throughout the hiring process, with a common reluctance to settle for anything less the best available talent. 


There is a recent trend developing of Senior EAs becoming a more valuable asset to businesses with professionals in this field now commonly demonstrating a stronger level of business and strategic acumen. There has been a shift away from traditional secretarial positions with Senior EAs now gaining more responsibility and becoming more involved in key decision making scenarios from an operational perspective.  As a result, we are seeing noteworthy rises in remuneration packages with up to €65k now on offer.

In the SME space, there has been a specific uptake in requirement for hybrid roles - such as incorporating office management positions with marketing or PA duties. Companies are focused on investing in their operational teams, and opening the door to alternative career paths within the business. The ultimate goal is to transform roles that aren’t directly contributing to revenue to ensure that they stay ahead of their competitors in developing their existing employee base.

Office Support Q2 Review

Receptionists are currently in high demand, which has not been the case for many years. We’ve seen that employers are having to increase remuneration levels in order to attract the top receptionists that are available on the market. This rise is also in response to the ever growing risk of losing top talent as receptionists now have a wealth of opportunities at their disposal. Salaries are moving away from typical ranges at entry level with up to 32k now on offer.


Industry knowledge is become one of the most highly-valued skills by employers of Office Support professionals. This is certainly the case in industries such as financial services, professional services, pharmaceutical and aviation leasing, with office support professional who bare a high level of industry acumen, demonstrating a swift capability to adapt to their new working environment. This is highly sought by hiring managers as the on-boarding process becomes significantly more efficient as a result of this competency.

Office Support professionals with a third level qualification seem to becoming more and more of interest to hiring managers. This is coming from the perspective that employers can see a more ambitious path of progression for these individuals. Touching on the hybrid roles once again, developing existing employee base, and retaining talent is as high as ever on the agenda of Irish employers. Ultimately, professionals who have achieved a third level degree, have demonstrated their willingness and commitment to learning, and this is why companies are honing in on professionals with this level of aptitude.


Challenges and changes in the market

The main challenge that faced Office Support hiring market in Q2 was a shortage in supply of top talent across the board. With businesses continuing to grow and expand operationally, it is forecasted that the supply shortage will remain.  Counter offers are becoming more of an issue for hiring managers, adding another layer of complexity to the hiring process. Employers are encouraged to act swiftly on talent of interest, or else they will run a high risk of losing out. Candidates are involved in multiple interview processes at the one time many hiring managers are missing out due to slow decision making.

In relation to new roles on the market, we have seen an increase in demand for temporary administrative positions with the responsibility processing of ongoing GDPR tasks. 


As expected, there will be a seasonal lull in hiring for July and August with recruitment processes slowing down as a result of the summer months. But with hiring activity anticipated to ramp back up once again in September, businesses should expect upward pressure on remuneration levels in order to secure the best available office support talent. 

Ultimately the battle for attracting and retaining talent will be won by the companies who are market leaders from a remuneration and benefits offering perspective. Work life balance is becoming increasingly more important for professionals - working from home, flexi hours, annual leave, and we are seeing companies who focus on improving their packages; reap the rewards from their efforts.

The trend of the employer having to proactively engage with passive candidates is expected to continue for the duration of the third quarter with the short supply of active job seekers in this space. On outlook, the foreseeable future looks bright for Office Support professionals, with a wealth of opportunities at all levels that forecasted to last for the remainder of 2018, and potentially beyond.

Sharon O'Donnell's picture
Associate Director | Dublin
+353 1 4321500