USAToday.com has reported that the “Executive Assistant is the new power job” and states that compensation has been consistently rising, with bases typically starting at $60K annually and sometimes going as high or beyond $200k, plus bonuses and equity.
Responsibilities of an EA tend to vary from company to company and executive to executive. Often they are required to master and juggle tasks such as calendar management, travel arrangements, meeting planning, proposal writing, board member communication, report generation, data analysis, information preparation and research. However, the trust and the insight an Executive Assistant role offers means they can very well do outside the box more personal duties too – everything from helping to plan a huge family reunion, to actually sitting in for the CEO at a board meeting. It’s been described as being a Project Manager for a Person. They are trusted with credit cards, bank account numbers and private phone numbers and other highly confidential components of their boss’ life.
Being an Executive Assistant is not the “dead-end” job it was assumed to be in years past. The perception of the job has changed generationally, often depending on the age of the executive. The proximity to power means it can be a launching pad into the business world at large offering excellent exposure to networking contacts and the inside track on promotability. Employers now recognize the EA function as one that has fluidity and morphing capabilities. However, the one constant thoroughout my career in placement is that employers want smart, discreet, think-on-your-feet personalities with strong skills – not just keyboarding or the Microsoft Office Suite. Today, social media savvy is essential – usually equal to or better than their boss’ expertise. That’s because there is value to maintaining and cultivating the executive’s personal brand and online persona, which may fall to the Assistant who doesn’t just manage the Outlook calendar, but may function as a kind of ghostwriter of tweets or other web postings and digital reputation management .
One of my current clients, Richard Horowitz, Chairman and CEO of P&F Industries in Melville, NY says, “When you have an assistant who is organized, she literally takes care of everything. Mine helps me tremendously and makes my day more productive. She is my right arm and saves me huge amounts of time – a highly prized commodity in my life. You must treat your Assistant with the utmost respect. It’s not one way…it’s a partnership.”
Mr. Horowitz’ assistant, Michele Alonso, whom I placed in this role is a Towson University graduate with 10 years business experience. She says, ”I have an open relationship with my CEO which enables me to be more successful at my job. I function as his gatekeeper and personal organizer. I prioritize the list that makes his life run smoothly. I think it’s imperative for any CEO to have a high level of trust in their EA, and once that is established, it’s easy to adapt to their daily needs and perform the job successfully.”
Executive Assistants have almost shaken the stereotypes of their secretarial counterparts of yesterday, especially as baby boomers continue to retire from the workplace. Millennials have given a new spin to the role and have brought new skills sets and expectations to the profession. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statisticsreports that administrative professionals have a projected growth rate of 12% through 2022. One anonymous source says this role makes you “privy to everything – the higher your executive in the corporate chain, the more you know.”
Connect with Barbara Cohen Farber, Executive Director of LLoydAdmin on LinkedIn.