Office Support Professionals: The Truth About Year-End Bonuses

As 2014 comes to a close, the time to make important decisions that will impact your career in 2015 starts with your New Year’s resolutions, and for many, their resolutions are focused on finding a new job.  If you are an office support professional that is considering making a job switch in 2015, what’s preventing you from starting your job search now?  There’s a myth that Q4 is a bad time to look for a job, and our office support recruitment specialists have seen that an increasing number of candidates are delaying their job search until next year, and some are staying with their current employer just to receive a year-end bonus. However, we’re here to dispel that myth.

2014 has been a robust year for job growth in the office support space, and as the employment rate continues to improve, projections indicate that this trend will likely continue into 2015. If you are an admin professional that is postponing your job search until you receive a year-end bonus, Shana Cohen, Director of The Execu|Search Group’s Office Support division, has three factors to consider, which may make you realize you should be searching now in lieu of waiting for a year-end bonus.

Opportunities are plentiful

Month over month, the unemployment rate has consistently improved, which has resulted in an increasing number of companies looking to bring on top office support talent. In fact, based on Execu|Search’s internal data, the office support industry has experienced a record year-over-year increase in permanent placements. “While this is a good sign, we encourage candidates to be proactive now before the New Year rush of job seekers pick up in January and February,” says Shana. In other words, the sooner you begin to explore your options, the better positioned you can be to make an educated decision on your next career move.

Keep in mind, while it may be hard to walk away from money that you’ve worked hard for, luckily you’re not the only one that shares this sentiment. As the end of the year approaches and employers shell out year-end bonuses, companies recognize that prospective candidates may not be willing to leave their current employer without a monetary incentive. As a result, an increasing number of employers are offering office support professionals competitive compensation packages to compensate for considering a new role with their company at such a pivotal time period.

Companies are willing to negotiate

If you are concerned with missing out on a year-end bonus, Shana advises her candidates not to worry too much about it, as employers are increasingly willing to take your missed bonus into account when extending an offer. “For example, if your prospective employer is aware that you’d potentially miss out on a year-end bonus, they may be willing to offset your potential lost by offering a sign-on bonus comparable to what you anticipated on receiving,” says Shana.

Not only may prospective companies offer sign-on bonuses, but they may also be willing to recognize your potential lost with an increase in your base salary. As the market continues to improve, so have the negotiation strategies of companies. For instance, “In 2014, the office support professionals we’ve worked with have experienced an average increase of 13%-14% in their base salaries,” says Shana. With this in mind, we still encourage candidates to consider looking at the opportunities available and take advantage of market trends this year.

You have nothing to lose

In such a thriving job market, exploring your options sooner rather than later may give you a clearer understanding of your current worth and whether or not you should pursue other opportunities or stay with your current employer. If you’re considering changing jobs, there are two potential outcomes that can come from starting your job search now, instead of waiting for a year-end bonus:

  1. Find a better opportunity – Since you have a reason to consider making a change, this means that it might be worth it to explore what’s in the current market before the heavy hiring season arrives. “In fact, by talking to companies and other professionals, this will educate you on what’s being offered to candidates with your skills/experience in the current market, which may help you focus your attention on pursuing an opportunity that is better suited for your career goals,” advises Shana.
  2. Instill confidence in your current role – On the other hand, by exploring the market earlier, you may realize that companies are actually offering smaller compensation packages to candidates with similar experience to yours. As a result, “This should instill confidence that your current employer values your talent and staying with them leading up to a year-end bonus is the smartest decision,” says Shana.

At the very least, entering your job search sooner rather than later may increase your market knowledge, potentially expand your network, and give you confidence that your final decision is worth it.