John Krogstad moved from Los Angeles to Mesa in late June and is now in the early stages of searching for an administrative professional job.
“I've been in health care for 14 years as an administrative manager in Los Angeles,” he said. “I spent 12 years as Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and I had been an administrative manager for two clinical laboratories. I've been doing some looking, not only in health care, but outside of health care here.”
Krogstad has had two interviews, but neither made him an offer. He hopes to be able to find a job by early December as companies traditionally put off hiring until after the holiday season.
Steady growth within the health care industry has fueled hiring activity in that sector this |year and is expected to continue next year, according to a new survey by OfficeTeam, a worldwide staffing service that specializes in temporary office and administrative professionals.
Trends in starting salaries for administrative professionals will continue to reflect the ongoing growth and prosperity in the health care industry, according to the survey.
While the base pay is expected to either remain flat or decline next year for most other administrative professionals, it should increase for those positions related to health care.
“I think ongoing shifts in regulations impacting the health care field have increased the demand for skilled workers and are increasing the starting salaries,” said Kami Schneiderman, the division director for OfficeTeam's Mesa branch.
According to OfficeTeam, medical office administrators nationally will see the largest starting salary increase of any single administrative job classification in 2004, with base compensation expected to rise 7.9 percent.
In the Valley, the starting salary range is expected to increase to $31,900 to $42,750.
Also nationally, the base compensation for patient registration/admissions clerks should increase 7.2 percent. In the Valley, the range is expected to increase to $19,250 to $26,125.
Starting salaries for administrative professionals in Arizona are 5 percent below that of the national average, Schneiderman said. Besides health care, some other sectors are looking brighter for administrative professionals.
“On a national basis, definitely health care, manufacturing and financial services are looking strong,” she said. “In the Phoenix market, the health care industry as well as construction are the main industries experiencing hiring activity. Certainly that could be contributing to the continued number of people who are relocating to the Phoenix area.”
The job market is improving for accounting and finance professionals, said Libby Thomas, Mesa branch manager of Robert Half Finance and Accounting, and Accountemps, which are divisions of OfficeTeam.
“We're seeing increased demand for accounting and finance professionals, especially in the health care and construction industries in the Valley,” she said. “The demand for top candidates has still remained strong, and those salaries will remain very competitive. Those types of positions would be the candidates with the strongest skill sets for very specific types of positions versus the more general, clerk-level positions.”
Job seekers would be wise to do their homework, and seek industries that are growing and have good occupations within those industries, said Don Wehbey, the Arizona Department of Economic Security's senior economist.
“Things are improving,” he said. “The real key now if you're looking for a job is to devote your time to where it is improving and where it's not.”