The role of the PA has become “a bit like cloning your boss” and it is a function that is rapidly becoming more strategic and managerial. These were among the comments made by delegates attending the recent ExecSec Summit who took part in a series of video interviews conducted by PA Life Editor Colette Doyle.
Asked how they thought the role would develop in future, the participants all referenced the way that the profession is growing to adapt not just to new technology, but new challenges in today’s difficult economic climate. The idea of looking after just one boss, for instance, is outmoded, as Alison Boler at ITV explains: “I grew my role as PA to three heads [of department] and then expanded that out.”
“You [become] the right-hand man to the person you work for,” comments Marianna Maniatakis, who is a PA at BSkyB, and who adds that what she would like is “for PAs to be seen as direct reports.”
“The seniority of the position is gaining ground,” agrees Sarah Dyer of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.
Admin professionals are also frequently being asked to take on new responsibilities. Elise Hennessy at Land Securities notes that since the company no longer has a full-time events co-ordinator, part of that function will now have to be taken over by the PAs, which is a “major undertaking”.
Whatever the future may bring however, as long as PAs keep their skills relevant and current, there will always be a place for them, contends Simon Ward. He notes that in order to do his job properly he has to be able to second-guess his boss at the Financial Reporting Council and “deliver what she wants”.
Watch the edited highlights of the videos interviews here: