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Career profile Executive Assistant

Also known as Administrative Aide, Administrative Assistant, Administrative Associate, Administrative Coordinator, Administrative Secretary, Administrative Specialist, Executive Administrative Assistant, Executive Assistant, Executive Secretary, Office Assistant

Executive Assistant

Also known as Administrative Aide, Administrative Assistant, Administrative Associate

Interests Profile
  • Conventional
  • Enterprising
  • Social
Pay Range
$39,350 - $94,830 (annual)
Required Skills
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Active Listening
  • Speaking
Knowledge Areas
  • Administrative
  • Customer and Personal Service
  • Computers and Electronics
Core tasks
  • Manage and maintain executives' schedules.
  • Process payroll information.
  • Make travel arrangements for executives.
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What does an Executive Assistant do?

Executive Assistants provide high-level administrative support by conducting research, preparing statistical reports, and handling information requests, as well as performing routine administrative functions such as preparing correspondence, receiving visitors, arranging conference calls, and scheduling meetings.

In addition, Executive Assistants may also train and supervise lower-level clerical staff.

What kind of tasks does an Executive Assistant perform regularly?

Executive Assistants are often responsible for overseeing or executing some or all of the following tasks:

  • Manage and maintain executives' schedules.
  • Make travel arrangements for executives.
  • Prepare invoices, reports, memos, letters, financial statements, and other documents, using word processing, spreadsheet, database, or presentation software.
  • Answer phone calls and direct calls to appropriate parties or take messages.
  • Coordinate and direct office services, such as records, departmental finances, budget preparation, personnel issues, and housekeeping, to aid executives.
  • Prepare responses to correspondence containing routine inquiries.
  • Open, sort, and distribute incoming correspondence, including faxes and email.
  • Greet visitors and determine whether they should be given access to specific individuals.
  • Prepare agendas and make arrangements, such as coordinating catering for luncheons, for committee, board, and other meetings.
  • Conduct research, compile data, and prepare papers for consideration and presentation by executives, committees, and boards of directors.
  • Perform general office duties, such as ordering supplies, maintaining records management database systems, and performing basic bookkeeping work.
  • File and retrieve corporate documents, records, and reports.
  • Read and analyze incoming memos, submissions, and reports to determine their significance and plan their distribution.
  • Provide clerical support to other departments.
  • Attend meetings to record minutes.

The above responsibilities are specific to Executive Assistants. More generally, Executive Assistants are involved in several broader types of activities:

Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
Getting Information
Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work
Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
Communicating with People Outside the Organization
Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.

What is an Executive Assistant salary?

The median salary for an Executive Assistant is $63,110, and the average salary is $65,230. Both the median and average roughly describe the middle of the Executive Assistant salary range, but the average is more easily affected by extremely high or low salaries.

Many Executive Assistants earn significantly more or less than the average, due to several factors. About 10% of Executive Assistants earn less than $39,350 per year, 25% earn less than $49,890, 75% earn less than $78,410, and 90% earn less than $94,830.

Between the years of 2020 and 2030, the number of Executive Assistants is expected to change by -18.7%, and there should be roughly 42,100 open positions for Executive Assistants every year.

Median annual salary
$63,110
Typical salary range
$39,350 - $94,830
Projected growth (2020 - 2030)
-18.7%

What personality traits are common among Executive Assistants?

Interests

Career interests describe a person's preferences for different types of working environments and activities. When a person's interest match the demands of an occupation, people are usually more engaged and satisfied in that role.

Compared to most occupations, those who work as an Executive Assistant are usually higher in their Conventional and Enterprising interests.

Executive Assistants typically have very strong Conventional interests. Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.

Also, Executive Assistants typically have moderate Enterprising interests. Enterprising occupations frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. These occupations can involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.

Values

People differ in their values, or what is most important to them for building job satisfaction and fulfillment.

Compared to most people, those working as an Executive Assistant tend to value Relationships, Support, and Working Conditions.

Most importantly, Executive Assistants strongly value Relationships. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment.

Second, Executive Assistants strongly value Support. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees.

Lastly, Executive Assistants moderately value Working Conditions. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions.

Psychological Demands

Each occupation brings its own set of psychological demands, which describe the characteristics necessary to perform the job well.

In order to perform their job successfully, people who work as Executive Assistants must consistently demonstrate qualities such as attention to detail, integrity, and dependability.

Below, you'll find a list of qualities typically required of Executive Assistants, ranked by importance:

Attention to Detail
Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Integrity
Job requires being honest and ethical.
Dependability
Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Cooperation
Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
Concern for Others
Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.

What education and training do Executive Assistants need?

Executive Assistants often have training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an associate's degree.

Executive Assistants usually need one or two years of training involving both on-the-job experience and informal training with experienced workers. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with this occupation.

Educational degrees among Executive Assistants

  • 0.9% did not complete high school or secondary school
  • 15.9% completed high school or secondary school
  • 27.8% completed some college coursework
  • 14.6% earned a Associate's degree
  • 32.9% earned a Bachelor's degree
  • 7.1% earned a Master's degree
  • 0.8% earned a doctorate or professional degree

Knowledge and expertise required by Executive Assistants

Executive Assistants may benefit from understanding of specialized subject areas, such as administrative, customer and personal service, or computers and electronics knowledge.

The list below shows several areas in which most Executive Assistants might want to build proficiency, ranked by importance.

Administrative
Knowledge of administrative and office procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and workplace terminology.
Customer and Personal Service
Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Computers and Electronics
Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
Administration and Management
Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
Personnel and Human Resources
Knowledge of principles and procedures for personnel recruitment, selection, training, compensation and benefits, labor relations and negotiation, and personnel information systems.

Important Abilities needed by Executive Assistants

Executive Assistants must develop a particular set of abilities to perform their job well. Abilities are individual capacities that influence a person's information processing, sensory perception, motor coordination, and physical strength or endurance. Individuals may naturally have certain abilities without explicit training, but most abilities can be sharpened somewhat through practice.

For example, Executive Assistants need abilities such as oral comprehension, written comprehension, and oral expression in order to perform their job at a high level. The list below shows several important abilities for Executive Assistants, ranked by their relative importance.

Oral Comprehension
The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
Written Comprehension
The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
Oral Expression
The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
Written Expression
The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
Speech Recognition
The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.

Critical Skills needed by Executive Assistants

Skills are developed capacities that enable people to function effectively in real-world settings. Unlike abilities, skills are typically easier to build through practice and experience. Skills influence effectiveness in areas such as learning, working with others, design, troubleshooting, and more.

Executive Assistants frequently use skills like reading comprehension, active listening, and speaking to perform their job effectively. The list below shows several critical skills for Executive Assistants, ranked by their relative importance.

Reading Comprehension
Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.
Active Listening
Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Speaking
Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Writing
Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
Service Orientation
Actively looking for ways to help people.

What is the source of this information?

The information provided on this page is adapted from data and descriptions published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration under the CC BY 4.0 license. TraitLab has modified some information for ease of use and reading, and the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment, and Training Administration has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.

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