Information
By Brandi Britton, OfficeTeam
 
Ready for some good news about your industry? Administrative salaries are on the rise, and you can expect that trend to continue in the new year. The average anticipated increase for starting administrative salaries across the United States is 3.5 percent. In Canada, look for about a 3 percent boost in your field.
 
To advance as an executive assistant, office manager or in another office support role, you need to understand compensation and employment trends. Here’s a sampling of what you can expect in 2017, as gleaned from our OfficeTeam 2017 Salary Guide (https://www.roberthalf.com/officeteam/the-administrative-salary-guide).
 
1. More money for in-demand roles.The industry rewards professionals with niche expertise and managerial abilities. Positions for which OfficeTeam anticipates administrative salaries to grow by more than the national average include the following:
 
  • Senior executive assistant
  • Senior administrative assistant
  • Project manager
  • Certified coding specialist and certified professional coder
  • Medical customer service representative
  • Customer service manager
  • Project manager
  • Facilities manager
 
In general, the more senior the role, the more employers prefer candidates who can lead a team and work with minimal supervision. Other jobs seeing a jump in administrative salaries are those requiring specialized medical knowledge, especially in the U.S., where the Affordable Care Act is still bringing new consumers into the healthcare system.

2. Certifications can boost administrative salaries. A quick way for potential employers to assess your knowledge base and skill set is to see whether you possess a relevant industry certification. Employment trends show that an especially valuable designation is the Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS). This is not surprising, as almost every single administrative role requires proficiency in Word, Excel, Outlook and often PowerPoint.
 
Not only can a MOS designation help you land a job but, according to our research, U.S. employers could pay as much as 8 percent more for someone with the certification. Companies in Canada may offer up to 10 percent more than the base salary.
 
3. Let’s get technical. Proficiency in Microsoft Office may be the entry ticket to administrative jobs, but, if you expect to advance significantly, how are your skills in other software and platforms? The industry has changed. Today’s administrative professionals are increasingly doing much more than typing, answering phones and scheduling meetings. They are also analyzing data, managing customer relations, planning events, handling accounting duties and heading up social media campaigns.
 
To land plum roles and higher administrative salaries, get more training in one or more of the following technical areas:
 
  • Social media, digital and web design tools, such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Google Analytics, WordPress and Squarespace
  • Graphics, especially Photoshop and InDesign
  • Enterprise resource planning (ERP) software like those from Microsoft Dynamics and SAP
  • Customer relationship management (CRM)platforms, the most popular of which is Salesforce
  • Database managementtools like Microsoft Access and QuickBase
  • Electronic medical records (EMR) software, such as eClinicalWorks and Athena
 
With these skills in your toolkit, you can apply for niche roles with above-average administrative salaries.
 
4. Master sought-after soft skills. It’s relatively easy to train staff to use software. What is more difficult to instill are interpersonal abilities, which administrative professionals need in abundance. If you look at any job posting in the industry, you’ll see a common theme: Employers want receptionists, assistants, clerks and office managers who can work well with a wide range of people. Employment trends indicate that the demand for soft skills will only increase as administrative workers are being asked to do more and more.
 
Here are some of the career skills you need to master if you want to get ahead in today’s fast-paced office environment:
 
·         Communication.An enormous part of your job deals with words — writing them, speaking them and listening to them. Developing killer communication skills requires time and diligence. So make it a habit to always reread your emails before hitting send, making sure the message is clear and there are no embarrassing typos. If you get nervous during presentations, face your fear by seeking out opportunities for public speaking. And don’t forget to practice active listening — with your boss, colleagues, customers and vendors alike.
 
·         Flexibility.Employers are frequently requiring administrative professionals to wear several hats, which means you often need to step outside your job description — and comfort zone — to succeed. So, the next time you’re asked to help land a helicopter or organize a hula-hoop competition (both are actual requests from our Office of the Future study (https://www.roberthalf.com/officeteam/industry-resources/office-of-the-future), “flex” those admin muscles and rise up to the task.
 
·         Resourcefulness.Successful administrative professionals solve problems and get things done. They make sound decisions and can work with minimal supervision. They’re also proactive and perceptive, anticipating what their bosses require even before they know. So read all you can about the industry. Deepen your work relationships with influencers in other departments. The more you know, the more resourceful you will be.
 
5. Language skills pay off. It’s no secret that both the U.S. and Canada are becoming more multilingual. To serve customers well, many administrative roles either prefer or require professionals to be proficient in more than one language.
 
In Canada, fluency in English and French is a big plus, especially when applying for office positions in government or in multi-province organizations. Your bilingualism could net you up to 15 percent more in starting administrative salaries. Many U.S. employers also prefer candidates who speak more than one language, and could pay up to 12 percent more for the ability.

6. Education matters. Many entry-level administrative roles require simply a high school diploma or a certificate. However, your lack of a post-secondary degree could be holding you back from advancing in your career. According to a Georgetown University study, more than 95 percent of the new jobs created during the economic recovery have gone to workers with at least some college education.

Whether you’ve never started or haven’t finished your bachelor’s degree, make 2017 the year you go back to school. Your career path — not to mention your future salary — could benefit from that college diploma.
 
When you work hard, you deserve to be well compensated. By keeping current with employment trends and administrative salaries, you’ll have the information you need to stay at the top of your professional game.
 
Brandi Britton is a district president for OfficeTeam, the nation’s leading staffing service specializing in the temporary placement of highly skilled administrative and office support professionals. OfficeTeam has more than 300 locations worldwide and offers online job search services at roberthalf.com/officeteam. Connect with us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, Pinterestand the OfficeTeam blog.