Executive Assistants are growing in prominence in many organisations. This applies to both public sector and private sector, due to the need for more business support for busy executives. Greater automation and IT systems means that the traditional PA career are less needed than Executive Assistants.
What is the difference between a PA and an Executive Assistant?
PAs in the UK and Europe generally provide admin support to a team, manager or organisation. They are often delegated work to them and are generally not given important decisions to make. Often they have a lot of responsibility for Office management. Executive Assistants are more senior roles; many would have started as PAs. They are tasked with providing business support and not just administrative support. Therefore, they support busy executives with running their business and have greater decision making and problem-solving abilities. It is the Executive Assistant careers that are growing.
Following the pandemic, Executive Assistants are increasingly needed due to people working remotely and management need extra support to handle this new way of working. This means that Executive Assistants are needing to get used to working remotely.
Difficulties of remote working?
Executive Assistants are needing to upskill in IT to ensure that they can function well with online working. Additionally, working more independently has meant that is important to build greater business knowledge to be able to take on more business support and leading roles. Organisation such as the Institute of Executive Assistants are providing a range of Executive Assistant Courses to assist with this upskilling.
Additionally, it is difficult to build a working rapport with your executive. This is a very important part of being an Executive Assistant. Therefore, a greater investment in spending time in one-to-ones is more important in the online world.
Are the changes permanent?
Given that many Executive Assistants are now very well skilled in remote working, virtual communication and IT, it would make sense for many businesses to maintain elements of virtual and remote working going forward. Gaining greater skills in Microsoft Excel and other key apps would be a good idea for any Executive Assistant or similar role, to ensure that they have the skills for a post pandemic business world.