Interview with National Specialist Director of Office, PA and Secretarial recruitment at Hays

With over 19 years of experience, we asked Roddy Adair (National Specialist Director from Hays Recruitment – Office Support & PA Secretarial) his opinions of the administrative profession. Here is our 3 minute roundup with him. 

How important are administrators in our current business working environment?

They are very important, most of the time admin staff are the undervalued member of the team. They are significant in the smooth running of a business. Unfortunatley, people don’t realise the amount of support provided to the team, until they’re are missing. So in reality admin staff are vital, it’s a shame they’re perceived as doing nothing.

What are your opinions on the profession?

Currently, employers struggle when it comes to recruitment of admin staff due to the lack of talent and there’s a significant skills shortage in certain industries as well. Because of this you find a lot of employers place more emphasis on the temporary and fixed-term contracts when hiring as the interim solution whilst they look for the right candidate. So I would say in the profession, there’s a lack of good quality candidates.

What are some of the challenges/barriers faced by Admin Professionals? i.e. what are some perceptions of the job role?

Firstly, I would say employers don’t value the profession so you end up with employees not feeling valued. 

What advice would you give employers about investing in training opportunities that are outside the normal training available?

Employers have to understand that by doing this they increase the attraction of staff – particularly good quality ones. There’s evidence to show that by employer offering external training it improves the retention and engagement of staff. Also, it compliments their internal training, not to mention making their staff feel more valued.

The admin role is ever evolving, what are some of the ways the role has changed,  perhaps since when you began working the profession?

It’s become a lot less administrative. There used to be a mount of paper work involved and I would say communication was not as important, whereas now there’s been a huge growth in technology. Naturally, admin staff are now more tech savvy, with some roles much more analytical and with an IT focus. Communication skills have also become more important. 

That being said, overall the role is now more varied, for example where you’d have previously had to hire someone external to do some data entry, these responsibilities have shited to administrative professionals so they have needed to develop these skills. People don’t usually realise the different responsibilites some people have.

If you could change one thing about the profession, what would it be?

Everybody thinking that the role of an Administrator is just admin. People think that just because they’ve done other things before, they’ll be able to do the role of an Admin Professional and that is not the case.

More also needs to be done to make the role more valued within the workplace and in turn, the professional themself feel valued.

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