It’s time for more men to consider taking a role as a PA or EA, says Claire Gray, co-founder of Bain and Gray. Change is happening – but slowly…
Long gone are the days where job roles were stereotypically matched to a certain gender. For example, more women are starting to embrace a career in tech, which was traditionally seen as a male-dominated industry. And today more men are now choosing a job role as an executive assistant.
Sadly, the uptake is still quite slow. In 2017, the UK Office for National Statistics reported that women accounted for 94 per cent of personal assistant and secretarial roles in the UK, but this is starting to change. Bain and Gray has seen a distinct increase in the number of male candidates applying for executive support roles. In 2015, less than one per cent of candidates were male, but last year this rose to upwards of six per cent and we expect the figure to continue to grow in 2019.
We currently work with the Oxford Media and Business School whose PA Diploma is being renamed as the Professional Business Diploma to more accurately reflect the course content (which is not changing). Graduates pay around £15,000 to train up in this field knowing the investment in this type of role has the potential to pay back – as top EAs can earn up to £100,000.
The increase in the number of male candidates on our books reflects the rise of the career PA. Whereas once the job of the PA consisted of typing at a desk and taking minutes, the role has changed beyond recognition. An executive assistant acts as the primary point of contact for an organisation, internal manager of the business’ budget and is in charge of internal and external events. It’s due to these evolving responsibilities that men too are carving out a name for themselves within the industry.
Mo Mohsenin is a private PA for two different bosses, and came to us as an owner of his own company within the events/fashion industry. He decided to take a completely different career track and become an executive assistant. He explained: “A lot of people were initially surprised to hear I am a PA, as it is often a role associated with females. Many people don’t really understand what today’s PA actually undertakes apart from taking notes, making the tea and organising someone’s calendar. This perception is thankfully changing and I have met quite a few other male PAs in the last few months.”
Mohsenin was recently tasked with relocating an entire office with 15 staff from one side of London to another, which demonstrates how far the role of a PA has evolved. It’s more about making a difference and implementing change as a senior member of staff.
As the role of the executive assistant has changed, the perception of it is starting to shift too, for both employers and employees. Mohsenin added: “In this day and age, I don’t believe that men or women should be defined by what job they do.”