Flexible hours preferred perk for personal assistants.

Work life balance benefits are the preferred perk among the country’s personal assistants, but the regional divide remains in both pay and benefits, research has found.

According the OfficeTeam Salary Guide 2009, although the pay gap between North and South continues to widen, with London PAs paid the best salaries in the country, benefits are increasingly key to attracting and retaining good PAs.

Rebecca Parnell, regional manager at OfficeTeam said: “With the increased competition for talented PAs, employers need to take a closer look at the entire remuneration package offered in order to retain their staff. Benefits such as flexible working hours and extra holidays, for example, are key to maintaining an improved work life balance and engendering loyalty to the company.”

The survey found a regional divide when it comes to perks. Although ‘softer’ benefits such as flexible working hours are popular among PA from across the country, they are particularly popular in Leeds, Liverpool, Nottingham, Glasgow and Swindon.

Employers in Birmingham prefer to offer training and career progression opportunities, whereas traditional monetary benefits such as healthcare, pensions and bonus schemes are more common amongst employers in London, Leicester, Portsmouth and Southampton.

Personal assistants (PAs) working in London are the highest earners in the profession, 

There is a £10,000 difference in the annual salaries of PAs, with more than five years experience, working in Edinburgh and central London, with the latter earning an average of £32,000.

The North/South divide remains prominent in the statistics, with four of the five top salaries being earned by PAs working in southern parts of the UK. Central London,Hammersmith and West London, Milton Keynes and Portsmouth fill the top spots, with Leeds coming in fifth as the North’s only representative.

Edinburgh, Liverpool and Leicester share the bottom spot, with PAs earning an average of £22,000 in those areas.