Increasingly, employers are putting their administrative staff on three months’ notice as opposed to one months’ notice. The motivation behind this is partly a reaction to the evolution of the PA role, and partly a fear of being ‘left in the dry’. Additionally, where we’d previously seen line managers altering an employee’s notice period after having been employed for a year or two, we’re now seeing the three month notice period being incorporated into contracts at offer stage. But how well will an extended notice period be received by future employers when you wish to find a new job?
Is this good or bad for Candidates?
On the face of it: great! You have more job security and are safe in the knowledge that your employer will pay you three months’ notice should they ever request you to leave. On the flipside, it may have severe implications at the point you want to progress your career with another business.
My view in most cases is that the latter point outweighs the former. Put it this way: at the administrative level, three months’ notice will preclude you from 90-95% of jobs you apply for. Quite simply, employers want to hire someone who can start either immediately or who are on a maximum of one months’ notice.
Essentially, the administrative market is very different to the executive market where extended notice periods are far more commonplace. It is much more fluid and fast-paced; Candidates simply move jobs more frequently at a business support level compared to an executive level.
Employers putting support staff on three months’ notice realise that it could cost them more, but there is a greater opportunity cost to them by tying someone in for a longer period of time who is able to recruit their replacement and complete a full handover.
What does it mean for you?
Sadly, this puts Candidates in a very difficult position because most (quite rightly) don’t want to hand in their notice until they have secured a new position. However this is exactly what job seekers are having to do in order to find another job. Hiring managers just won’t consider Candidates with extended notice periods. Employers also frown at two months’ notice, so in effect you have 6 weeks to find a new position - not three months from the time of your resignation.
While there is a real risk of being out of work for a period of time if you can’t find something immediately, remember that temporary work is always an option should you not find a new and perfectly-timed permanent role. Additionally, my advice would be to negotiate any suggestion of a three months’ notice period at offer stage. In many cases it might not be appropriate to challenge this, but unless you do, you may risk running into problems down the line.