Stephanie Naznitsky details the hiring trends for 2021 in the administrative workplace
As an administrative professional, you’ve likely played a key role in helping your organization navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. From setting up virtual interviews for job candidates to helping create a clean, safe office environment, tasks that would have seemed peculiar months ago are now par for the course.
For professionals and job seekers with an eye on 2021, this is a good time to take stock. After nine months of the pandemic, we have a clearer understanding of how it’s impacting the employment landscape.
The 2021 OfficeTeam Salary Guide has plenty of information on the latest workplace and hiring trends to help you stay ahead of the curve. Here’s a look at some of those it covers.
Remote working? Not remotely unusual
In a recent survey by Robert Half, nearly three-quarters of workers (74%) said they would like to telecommute more often, even post-pandemic. And that’s fine with many managers, who have seen that, given the right tools, admins can handle their responsibilities off-site just as effectively as they can in the office.
Help create a safer workplace
Firms that have reopened their offices have had to make big changes. In many cases, administrative staff have taken the lead in helping create a workplace that’s as secure against COVID-19 as possible. Using floor tape to mark work areas, arranging desks so coworkers sit apart and side by side rather than face to face, and managing a calendar of rotational shifts for on-site employees are just some of the important measures office managers are putting in place to maintain physical distancing.
Taking on responsibilities outside your job description is a great way to demonstrate that you can adapt and apply your skills to any situation. Qualities such as problem solving, versatility and collaboration make you a valuable asset to any team.
Thrive with technology
The increasing digitalization of tasks means admins are rapidly becoming the office technology experts. Whether it’s setting up videoconferences, training colleagues in new scheduling software or crafting email marketing campaigns, the grab bag of tech-related tasks admins now handle has greatly expanded.
As for automation, it’s creating new opportunities for tech-savvy support talent. As firms switch to artificial intelligence (AI) tools to streamline core processes, professionals with the skills needed to manage those tools find themselves highly employable.
Show off your soft skills
With teams physically distanced in the office or geographically dispersed, soft skills are being tested like never before. The lack of in-person interaction creates huge potential for miscommunication. Support staff are vital points of contact for all team members and must demonstrate qualities such as emotional intelligence, sound judgement and discretion to ensure their colleagues can collaborate effectively.
Now more than ever, admins must be able to work independently and prioritize their workload with minimal supervision. Employers need support staff who are reliable and know when (and when not) to escalate an issue.
Look for sectors that are growing
Economies around the world took a big hit in 2020, but not every sector was affected equally — and some experienced growth. Skilled administrative professionals can thrive in almost any industry, so don’t be afraid to look for opportunities outside your comfort zone, in areas such as:
The spread of COVID-19 has driven demand for skilled healthcare support staff, including telehealth service operators, contact-tracing workers, medical coders and insurance administrators.
The pandemic has caused an e-commerce boom and retailers are looking for skilled customer service representatives and managers to keep their new clients satisfied. While many businesses are using automated chatbot systems to answer basic queries, this technology pales in comparison to human beings who can quickly understand the needs and motivations of a company’s customers.
Interim or full-time – which is best for you?
Firms that reduced staffing levels during the pandemic remain cautious about hiring. With leaner operations in place, many companies are adopting a flexible working model with a mix of full-time and interim staff. This allows them to scale the team as needed, access specialized skills for high-priority projects and adapt to changing economic conditions.
About 4 in 10 managers surveyed by Robert Half said their company uses interim professionals to evaluate them for full-time roles. So, if you’re looking for a staff position, try to be as flexible as possible, with the mindset that there’s usually more than one way to achieve your goals.