Eight out of ten HR executives expect business growth in 2014

25 March 2014

Despite high expectations of growth, 83% of business leaders are concerned about losing top talent, and four out of ten firms face recruitment challenges. These are among the key findings of the 2014 Salary Guide released today by specialist recruitment firm, Robert Half.

A survey of 100 Australian Human Resources (HR) executives found that 71% are confident about the nation’s economic prospects for the year ahead. In particular, eight out of ten (76%) business leaders expect their own organisation to grow in 2014.

The 2014 Robert Half Salary Guide indicates this growth is driving demand for office support staff in the areas of reception, customer service and project administration.

David Jones, Managing Director of Robert Half Asia-Pacific says, “skills that are highly sought after by employers include sales administration, especially product life cycle experience and high volume data entry. In terms of IT capabilities, MS Office is frequently called for and SAP is becoming more desirable. Formal administration qualifications such as a Certificate III also always attract employer interest”.

Research shows that firms are looking for professionals with experience across several roles. According to Jones, “in a highly cost-conscious business environment, employers want more ‘bang for their buck’, for example a candidate with accounts and reception skills, or reception plus administration skills”.

This year, 37% of firms anticipate increasing their administration and office support team salaries, and one in five will increase bonuses.

Despite today’s large applicant pool, firms cannot afford to be complacent with their recruitment strategy. Quality talent is always in demand and HR executives have cited staff recruitment and retention as a key challenge for their organisation, with 83% of business leaders concerned about losing top employees.

“A third of HR executives surveyed say candidates are more likely to refuse a job these days compared to three years ago, so companies need to think about what they can offer their potential staff. We are seeing employers explore additional ways to attract and retain talent, which doesn’t always involve remuneration”, adds David Jones.

Around one in two firms give their administration and office support teams the opportunity to up-skill through training and development (54%), and/or coaching and mentoring (50%). Health and wellbeing initiatives also play a role and a guide, 15% of organisations are offering their nutrition advice; 13% run yoga classes; and a further 13% provide massages in the workplace.

“Administration and office support teams form the backbone of any successful business, and while many companies are confident of achieving growth in 2014, hiring and retaining top talent is critical to turn plans of expansion into bottom line success”, concludes David Jones.

The 2014 Robert Half Salary Guide provides comprehensive analysis of current and future hiring trends including salary benchmarks. A full copy can be downloaded from roberthalf.com.au.

Notes to Editors:
The 2014 Administration and Office Support Salary Guide was developed by Robert Half in conjunction with an independent research organisation and surveyed 100 Human Resources (HR) Executives in companies across Australia.

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Gabrielle Nagy  
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