Combining a world-class training programme and sophisticated exhibition office* 2015 welcomed 4,000 executive support professionals to Olympia, London on 13-14 October 2015.
To mark National PA Day 2015, aside from the wealth of new business products, services and venues being unveiled at office* 2015, visitors to the show were the first to see the results of the 5th annual National PA Survey, which provides a fascinating insight into the role of modern PAs.
Whilst there never could or will be such a thing as an average PA, these results do provide something of a snapshot. The majority of survey respondents, for example, have been working in their current job for an average of 6 years, are highly motivated, and, very evidently, enjoy the responsibility and variety of the important work that they do.
The questions in the 2015 survey echo those asked in the first ever National PA Survey in 2011, to enable direct comparisons (if any) between the results. Notably, despite the years between them, the majority of responses are very similar – registering only slight percentage changes throughout. With one clear exception – according the 2015 survey the number of bosses/managers being supported by a sole PA is on the rise.
Although the majority of surveyed PAs still support one manager, the number that do so has dropped by almost a third (from 49% to 36%). In 2011, a quarter of PAs supported over 3 managers. That figure has hit 40% for 2015. This shift – of escalating workloads and greater responsibilities – also reaffirms the results of other previous National PA Surveys (2012-2014) that have explored how the PA role has changed (and is still) evolving over time.
One thing that certainly hasn’t altered are attitudes to loyalty, illustrating the uniqueness of the PA role in the work place (however many managers they support). When asked who they felt most loyal to:
- The majority of PAs – 62% (compared to 56% in 2011) – responded with ‘My Boss’
- ‘The Company’ – 22%
- ’My Colleagues’ – 16%
The results offer a succinct reminder of how important a strong, close working relationship is to ensuring the professional success of both individuals – the PA and their respective boss(es).
A ‘great boss’ also tops the list of the things that most motivate them about their work:
- 61% of respondents stated that they felt ‘valued’ by their boss
- 29% said ‘extremely’
- 32% said ‘very’
Of course, if they could change a few things about the PA role it would be to highlight the important contributions and commitment that they collectively make to UK businesses every day. When asked to name what most frustrates them about their work, lack of career opportunities, pay, and lack of recognition are still the three biggest concerns.
“It is vital that all organisations recognise what a significant asset their PA is to their overall business success, one that certainly shouldn’t ever get taken for granted,” says Carsten Holm, managing director of Diversified Communications UK, organiser of office*.