Take a Memo: More Secretaries to be Hired in 2011?

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While the experts are generally skeptical about the employment picture for next year, at least one new report says secretaries should find more work in 2011.

Last week, we reported on 11 Promising Jobs for 2011, but that was little comfort to those of us who don’t have the technical skills to be a “senior business systems analyst” or an “ERP technical developer” – if we even knew what those meant.

So it’s nice to see new research showing “administrative professionals” – secretaries and office assistants – getting some love. And some work. Administrative staffing agency Office Team polled more than 500 HR managers at companies with 20 or more employees and reached this conclusion last week…

“Eight percent of human resources managers interviewed said they plan to add full-time support staff during the first quarter of 2011, while three percent anticipate declines. The net five percent increase is up five points from the prior quarter.”

That’s good news, even if it doesn’t seem to be the trend. Another staffing agency, Manpower, released a poll of its own [PDF], which went in the opposite direction, although it tackled employment in general…

“From January to March, 11 percent of the companies interviewed plan to hire more employees, while 13 percent expect to reduce their payrolls. Another 69 percent expect to maintain their current staff levels,  and 7 percent are not certain of their hiring plans. This yields a Net Employment Outlook of  minus 2 percent.”

So who to believe? Well, the Office Team survey also contained a fascinating chart that shows the responses to this question: “How concerned are you about losing top-performing administrative professionals to other job opportunities in the next year?”

Last spring, only 26 percent of HR directors fretted about that. This winter that’s risen to 43 percent. So secretaries may indeed have something to celebrate next year.

Stacy Johnson

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