Executive administrative assistants perform administrative support duties for executive management. While they perform some clerical duties, most of their responsibilities are more complex. They must possess a thorough understanding of computer software applications, be proficient in Internet research and demonstrate strong communication skills as well. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were over 1.5 million people employed as executive secretaries and executive administrative assistants in the United States in 2008, and employment in the field is expected to continue growing in the future.
Executive administrative assistants manage executives' calendars, scheduling meetings and appointments. They prepare responses to correspondence and materials for meetings and conferences, including research reports and memos. In some offices, executive administrative assistants file corporate documents and reports as well. In addition, they answer phones and greet executives' guests, sort and distribute incoming correspondence and coordinate travel arrangements. Some also perform personal errands for executives when necessary. Experienced executive administrative assistants are sometimes responsible for supervising other administrative staff as well.
Most executive administrative assistant positions require a college diploma. A bachelor's degree in business or in a field related to the company's industry is often helpful. To keep up to date with the latest office software and technology, executive administrative assistants may attend classes or online seminars that provide information on office technologies. They may also choose to become certified by the International Association of Administrative Professionals as a Certified Administrative Professional. Professional experience, however, is often the strongest asset for gaining employment as an executive administrative assistant.
Executive administrative assistants usually work in corporate or government agencies. They spend most of the day sitting behind a desk. Heavy computer use and typing can sometimes lead to physical issues, such as carpal tunnel syndrome or eyestrain. Executive administrative assistants are full-time employees who generally work 40 hours per week. Overtime may sometimes be required, though, depending on the needs of the executive.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wages for executive administrative assistants was $40,030 as of May 2008. The highest 10 percent were paid $62,070, while the lowest 10 percent earned $27,030. Executive administrative assistants who worked for companies and enterprises earned the highest wages, with an average annual salary of $46,720.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that employment for executive administrative assistants will grow 11 percent between 2008 and 2018, which is about the same as the average for all occupations. Most job openings will be in growing industries such as construction, health care and professional, scientific and technical services. Applicants with bachelor's degrees will have the best job prospects because employers will see them as able to assume greater managerial responsibilities and complete more detailed assignments.
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11, Secretaries and Administrative Assistants
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2008, Executive Secretaries and Administrative Assistants
- International Association of Administrative Professionals: Administrative Support Job Descriptions
- Photo Credit secretary image by DXfoto.com from Fotolia.com
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