The operations associate is a job title that has evolved from the traditional role of the office secretary. Along with clerical and administrative tasks, operations associates also perform managerial and public representation duties normally given to officers. The average operations associate typically earns about $45,000, although earnings can be even higher in specialized professional fields.
Operations associates are typically responsible for performing a variety of administrative tasks, including bookkeeping, data entry, communication with clients and other front office work. Operations associates have many of the job duties traditionally reserved for secretaries, such as scheduling appointments and travel arrangements for business professionals. The role of operations associate has expanded to include some project management and other managerial duties due to the increased use of office technology that eases basic tasks.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics includes salary data for operations associates with other jobs under the occupational title of executive secretaries and executive administrative assistants. According to federal statistics, American workers in this occupational category earned an average annual salary of $45,860 per year, or $22.05 per hour, as of May 2010. At that time, the top-paying industries for operations associates included the Postal Service, averaging $61,340 per year, computer and peripheral equipment manufacturing, averaging $59,420 per year, and the federal executive branch, averaging $57,840 per year.
Education and Experience
Operations associate openings typically require either a bachelor's degree or from three to four years of related experience. Some entry-level executive secretary positions only ask for a high school diploma or GED equivalency as the minimum educational requirement. Operations associates in industries demanding familiarity with specialized terminology, including medical and legal fields, often require additional field-specific training.
Federal statistics indicate that job openings for secretaries and administrative assistants will grow by 11 percent between 2008 and 2018, which is about as fast as the average growth rate for all American occupations. Openings for operations associates in the legal, medical, educational and construction fields will grow much faster than job opportunities for operations associates in other industries. Often, secretaries and administrative assistants advance into professional fields after gaining professional knowledge in their operations associate roles.