Death of the EA?

Written by Jo Williams: Corporate Support Consultant – empire group

 

I have had the good fortune of recruiting several senior level Executive Assistant roles recently and I have been astounded by the high calibre of candidates I have met. I put this down to two things. Firstly, there are not as many opportunities available for EAs due to companies shedding many senior management roles. Secondly, the role of Executive Assistant has evolved.

 

A switched on, proactive Assistant enhances the effectiveness and productivity of an Executive in immeasurable terms. Whilst diary management, travel, task organisation and project skills are fundamental for any administration assistant, so much more is expected of and necessary for the modern EA. They have become technology experts, mastering multiple software programmes to produce high end presentations and collateral. They are event managers, researchers, influencers, mentors and project managers. Many administrative roles have become more about team support than individual support.

 

These are exciting times for administrative professionals. There is much broader scope to work across departments and build contacts in the business allowing more people to take notice. You also have more opportunity to diversify and grow your skill set. It’s this variety and challenge that makes being an administrative professional so appealing.

 

A recent development in the world of administration is the Virtual EA. This is a fabulous advancement for small to medium businesses, streamlining operations and reducing overheads. It also opens doors for experienced administrators to start their own businesses which is also very exciting. As with any outsourced service, there is a trade-off; valuable in-person contact disappears. In my experience, the EA is a vital communication link between executives and other stakeholders.

 

Organisations also need to be mindful of security of information including passwords and confidential files. Although technology will continue to evolve, it is my belief that there will always be a need for professional administrative personnel. The women I am fortunate enough to meet on a weekly basis are loyal, smart, proactive, business minded, dedicated and highly skilled. They are all-rounders and indispensable contributors to the efficiency of senior leadership teams. Technology can never replace that. Long live the EA!