2022 Employment Trends: Administrative & Customer Service

Recovery from the pandemic continues to have a significant impact on the job market. We’ve asked our Administrative & Customer Service employment expert to weigh in on the changes they’re currently seeing in the hiring landscape, to help you understand the trends going into the second half of this year. 

Amy Vokoun-Lutter, one of our Palmer Group directors, who oversees our Administrative & Customer Service division, shares some valuable thoughts with us on what she is seeing so far. 

What trends or changes have you seen in your industry so far this year? 

Since 2020, there has been an expansion of accepted work models (remote, hybrid, onsite). The most popular work model we’re seeing in 2022 and we anticipate will continue to grow is hybrid; meaning they work in the office a few days per week and remote a few days per week. 

To stay competitive with hiring top talent, companies should emphasize flexibility and allow their team members to work from home in a hybrid model. We’re still seeing a steady flow of fully remote positions – but not as many compared to last year.  

For candidates to have as many opportunities to consider as possible, we advise they consider both hybrid and remote roles.  

What types of candidates should hiring managers be looking for?  

As the job market continues to be hot and unemployment low in the Midwest, hiring managers should continue to be willing to consider candidates that may not have all the hard skills required for the job but can learn quickly and pick up new concepts/tasks.  

We encourage hiring managers that traditionally list education requirements (bachelor’s degree, etc.) to consider work experience and/or military experience as a substitute. This will open the candidate pool and bring more diversity to the backgrounds of their applicants. 

What type of certifications/experience is important for job seekers? 

Longevity in work experience is still highly regarded by hiring managers in this market. If longevity is lacking, then educational experience, volunteer experience, freelance work/etc. should be included on the candidate’s resume and in their interview responses.  

Overall hiring managers would like to be able to see key accomplishments on a resume in addition to the basic duties and tasks. Job seekers should highlight any awards, recognition, special projects, committees, etc. on a resume to help emphasize leadership, motivation, and achievement. 

How can your department help companies with their hiring needs? 

My team works with hiring managers and human resource professionals that are seeking candidates to fill roles related to office administration and customer service. These roles could be as entry-level as call center representatives or receptionists to more experienced roles like executive assistants, paralegals, office managers, etc.  

Our department’s goal is not only to provide qualified candidates to our clients but also to act as a partner and advisor related to the employment market and current hiring strategies. 

What types of changes in requests/expectations are you seeing from job seekers? 

While a competitive salary is still top of mind with job seekers, they are also interested in knowing what an employer can offer work-life balance. This includes what remote work options are available, flexibility in work hours/schedule – for example, the ability to leave early/come in late on certain days to allow for personal obligations; time off benefits, education/tuition reimbursement, retirement planning, wellness (gym membership) programs and health insurance. 

Job seekers are also looking for roles that allow them to develop their careers and expand their skill sets. Organizations that promote, offer, and reimburse for career training and development both inside and outside the organization are highly sought after.  

Retention is a current issue in the current job market. What are some key strategies you have effectively seen implemented to retain employees? 

What will keep a team member with your organization are things that make them feel appreciated and valued as both an employee and a person. This includes the flexibility to have a work-life balance as well as autonomy and trust between employers and their employees.  

Employers should make sure there are opportunities built into their organization to keep team members challenged and fulfilled in their work. These opportunities need to be varied to be meaningful and inclusive. For example, some team members may seek opportunities to participate in committees/employee resource groups, where others may be challenged by leading a training group or being a mentor, and others may feel valued by being sent to a professional development event.   

Most valuable advice you can give to companies right now? 

Take care of your people – without them, your business cannot grow or thrive. 

At Palmer Group, we are committed to making lives better. Whether you’re a job seeker or a hiring manager, we would love the opportunity to speak with you further about any of your employment questions or needs.