Great executive assistants need a certain set of skills to help their bosses get ahead while advancing their own careers. Among the essentials are technology and social media knowledge, as well as being aware of what's going on around the office and in the wider business world.
This is the advice of the founder of the Global PA Association Rosemary Parr, who was recently interviewed in The Sunday Times. She says management assistants need to be able to set up their boss's laptop, phone and other devices in addition to having the skills necessary to understand corporate structures. She believes PAs require regular development opportunities in order to be at the top of their game.
In the same article, founder of VA agency Cushion the Impact Andrea Osborne comments that the more work executives can delegate to their assistant, the more time they can devote to achieving their own goals, such as keeping up to date with the office as a whole and remaining in touch with industry news. A successful PA will also keep track of movements outside the company and bring them to his or her boss's attention.
Although only 40% of UK PAs have degrees, Rosemary believes the demand for graduates in administrative roles will increase as a new generation of executives takes over. These managers will be looking for analytical, research and critical thinking skills, but she warns that they may lack the diplomacy and emotional intelligence needed to succeed.
Candidates for executive-level roles are generally expected to have an MBA, at least five years' practical experience and a willingness to work long hours. Typical salaries range between £50,000 and £75,000, though many are recruited into leadership positions within two years.
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