The demand for skilled admin workers is on the rise across Canada. In fact, 41,700 new admin jobs are expected to become available between 2019 and 2028. This sector isn’t immune to the labour shortage, however, and researchers estimate there’ll only be 34,700 job seekers available to fill these positions.

To make recruitment even more challenging for employers, new administrative trends in the job market are emerging. The role of a standard admin worker has significantly shifted in recent years. Jobs that once involved primarily clerical work now require accounting, HR and IT elements. As AI technology takes over more daily tasks, workers are also taking on new responsibilities within companies.

In 2023, companies will continue changing how they hire, manage and retain admin workers. This is partly due to the shift to remote work, but it’s also affected by the growing number of Gen Z professionals in the market.

With all these changes, it’s more important than ever for employers to develop robust hiring practices. To make this step a reality, employers must first understand how job trends in the administrative sector are shifting.

Man looking away sitting in a restaurant smiling with laptop.
Man looking away sitting in a restaurant smiling with laptop.

learn about the top paying administrative roles in canada in 2023.

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administrative trends in today’s job market

There are thousands of open administrative assistant jobs across Canada, particularly in Quebec, Ontario and British Columbia. The increased demand has pushed up the average salaries for these skilled professionals. It’s also helped strengthen some job market trends in the administrative sector. 

Here’s a look at the leading administrative trends.

gen Zs entering the workforce

By 2031, Statistics Canada estimates that members of Gen Z will account for 31.5% of Canadian employees. With this new generation comes a new set of workers’ expectations and motivators. For example, Gen Zs tend to emphasize well-being and mental health in the workplace.

This generation is also adaptable and technically savvy. Employers need to understand the strengths and employment expectations of Gen Z to attract and retain them in the coming years effectively.

remote work — the new normal

Remote work is now a permanent fixture of the admin sector. One survey found that just 24% of financial services professionals want to work from the office. Given the labour shortage, employees have the upper hand; companies that can’t accommodate employees’ desire for flexibility may struggle with recruiting and retention.

Employers must focus on attracting and retaining talent with solid ethics and sophisticated communication and time management skills. As companies recruit from across Canada, bilingual candidates will be in high demand. 

work-life balance

Today's admin workers are rethinking how work fits into their lives. In fact, a healthy work-life balance is the second most important driver for employees looking for new job opportunities — 68% of job seekers cite it as a top priority in 2023. Employers must find ways to build flexibility into the workplace, such as hybrid work options, work-from-home jobs or part-time opportunities. They should also place greater focus on mental and physical wellbeing in the workplace.

curious about the permanence of remote work and how it factors into competitive pay for admin positions?

Find out more about the impact remote work has on compensation.

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focus on gender equality

While many admin jobs, including secretaries and data-entry workers, have traditionally been held by women, this is no longer the case. Men have slowly been entering the field for decades.

To attract candidates in a tight labour market, employers should make an effort to create gender-neutral job descriptions. This practice can help increase diversity in the workplace — another top employee priority, particularly among younger workers. It also creates a bigger talent pool, which can help companies overcome hiring challenges.

employees want to make a difference

By and large, Millennials and Gen Z workers are more socially conscious than their predecessors. Social purpose and value are essential to these professionals. They’re so committed to social purpose that they’re willing to forgo pay raises to maintain it. According to a recent study, 47% of the Millennials surveyed were willing to give up a pay raise of over $9,000 a year to take a more meaningful job.

Employers must be transparent about company goals and community outreach opportunities to give these younger employees a sense of purpose. They should highlight how employees’ work adds value to help workers feel connected to the business.

growing gig economy

The gig economy is in full swing. About 13% of Canadians perform gig work, and more than one in three Canadian employers hire gig workers. This includes freelancers, consultants and digital assistants.

For many employers, gig workers help fill skills or labour gaps without the risks and costs of hiring new employees. Instead of hiring full-time or even part-time workers, employers can use these gig workers as needed.

new technologies are transforming admin roles

In 2023, AI technology will continue to transform business support and operations roles. These systems can handle many daily admin tasks, leaving workers free to build relationships and become true partners to their executives. Some admin roles are expanding to include operations-related responsibilities in the absence of traditional tasks.

demand for upskilling and reskilling

In 2023, upskilling and reskilling administrative professionals will be a priority for businesses in various industries. This is partly due to new technologies; employers need tech-savvy workers with strong IT skills. 

The complexity of today’s administrative roles also motivates the trend toward upskilling. In addition to clerical work, admin professionals may need to submit payroll hours, handle minor technical issues or even complete various accounting tasks. Depending on the industry, employers may also look for workers with proofreading skills and experience in database management.

Instead of searching for candidates with all these skills in a competitive job market, employers are opting to provide training. Professional development has benefits beyond hiring — it can also help companies boost job satisfaction and reduce turnover.

value of soft skills

With technology handling many basic admin duties, employers are prioritizing soft skills. In today’s remote-work environment, administrative professionals must be creative, organized, detail-oriented and able to solve problems. Communication and teamwork skills can also help dispersed teams stay productive.

Employers need to integrate these soft skills requirements into new job descriptions. This will help attract candidates with the necessary skills and improve hiring outcomes.

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