Job description

Administrative assistants perform a variety of clerical and administrative duties to keep an organisation running smoothly. This typically includes directing calls, creating and maintaining filing systems, making appointments and organising calendars, typing up correspondence, arranging meetings, and creating spreadsheets and other reports. Admins may work exclusively for one executive but often manage the business affairs for several.

Duties

    • Answer calls, direct callers to appropriate personnel or take messages
    • Maintain and organise filing systems, in paper or digital form
    • Create or transcribe recorded correspondence and documents, disseminate or store as instructed
    • Arrange staff meetings
    • Handle incoming and outgoing mail, email, faxes and other correspondence
    • Review and edit documents
    • Make appointments, organise calendar, keep administrators to their schedule
    • Book travel and accommodation for executives
    • Assist in event planning
    • Do basic bookkeeping and generate spreadsheets and other financial reports
    • Order office supplies and negotiate with vendors
    • Operate and arrange repairs for office equipment, such as copiers and phone systems
    • Conduct research and create related reports
    • Oversee clerical staff and coordinate with other admins

Skills, qualities and knowledge

Attention to detail
Writing
Editing
Word processing software
Database software
Accounting software
Customer service
Active listening
Decision-making
Communication
Teamwork
Organisation
Multitasking
Leadership
Adaptability
Discretion

Working hours and environment

Average working hours

40hweek

Typical schedule

Full Time

Standard business hours

Most administrative assistants work full time in an office environment. Jobs span all industries, including business, government, schools and healthcare. To assist executives at meetings and events, some travel may be required.

Admins working as virtual assistants operate from a home office, completing all tasks and communication electronically.

Salary

Bottom 10%

$23k

Median

$37k

Top 10%

$56k

Annual salary estimates are based on percentile wage data collected through the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) survey of US workers.

Qualifications and training

Education level

High School

DVM / VMD degree

Study time

6months

Formal education generally isn't required for entry-level administrative assistant positions. You can learn the necessary software and procedures through on-the-job training. Look to ommunity colleges, technical schools, placement agencies and online schools for coursework in word processing, accounting software and other related subjects that can make you a more desirable job candidate.

Previous clerical or secretarial job experience can also set you apart from the competition. Some employers, particularly for executive assistant positions, prefer candidates with a BA in business.

You may require additional months of training or coursework for administrative assistant jobs in specialty fields like law and medicine.

Job outlook

Projected growth
The projected growth rate of employment in the US from 2016 to 2026, based on data collected through the BLS Employment Projections (EP) programme. The national average growth rate for all professions is 7%.

-7%

No of new jobs
The number of jobs projected to become available in the US between 2016 and 2026, based on data collected through the BLS Employment Projections (EP) programme.

-164k

Automation risk
The probability of computerisation, based on data published in ‘The Future of Employment’, a 2013 working paper by Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael Osborne.

96%

Career progression

The field of administrative assistants has been steadily shrinking, due to a combination of recession-related budget cuts and technological advances that make it easier for executives to do tasks they once delegated to admins. Available jobs do provide a challenging, fast-paced environment, as administrative assistants often handle organisational tasks for 4 to 10 executives.

There is room for advancement within the field, as assistants can work their way up to positions with more responsibility and higher salaries. Job experience and a business degree opens the door to executive assistant roles, particularly in larger companies.

Experience as an admin and a BA in a relevant field can also lead to even higher-level positions such as human resources manager, corporate event planner or administrative services manager.