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Executive Assistant: Responsibilities, Career Path, and Salary

Rob Browne
Rob Browne  |  November 22, 2019

 

Every company, team, and group of people working together need team members that keep things moving smoothly.


Some are known as “glue guys”. Others as “essentials”, or “athletes” if they are particularly skilled at doing a number of different tasks. Executive assistants fit firmly within this field of essential members of a company who are well-trained and high-performing at a number of different tasks. In addition to supporting the CEO, they make daily contributions to a business to help it stay on its feet.

Executive assistant: responsibilities, salary, and career paths

An executive assistant wears many hats in their role within a company. Let’s take a look at what these varying responsibilities can be, how much executive assistants are typically compensated, and potential career paths for aspiring executive assistants.

Responsibilities

Executive assistants are beholden to a few basic responsibilities across industries. These include the foundational forms of administrative assistance, such as taking and dialing phone calls, setting up schedules and meetings for executives via calendar software, ensuring visitors are welcomed to the office, and sending memos.

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Additional responsibilities can vary greatly depending on the industry of the executive assistant, however one such task that’s common for assistants is research. An executive may often be in meetings for the majority of their time in the office and lack adequate time for preparing notes or other research for these meetings or other business interests. Executive assistants fill this role by helping to conduct any research or harvest any background information an executive might not have time for. Essential to this task is a basic understanding of the company’s business operations and being able to sort through information to find what is most pertinent to the executive’s specific interests for each topic.

Another key responsibility of an executive assistant is to manage the time of the executive. This includes screening phone calls, meetings, and visitors to ensure that they will be of value to the executive when fitting in their schedule. An executive’s time is of the utmost value to a company, and an executive assistant must be sure to evaluate potential uses of this executive’s time to confirm that it’s worth taking up a portion of an executive’s schedule.

Clerical teams at large companies can be expansive, and an executive assistant is firmly at the top of these teams. As part of an executive assistant’s high stature within a company, they may be put in charge of training new team members. Some of an executive assistant’s tasks will be shared with administrative assistants, and in order for executive assistants to ensure that they are on the same page as those they will be working with, as well as the executive, training new administrative assistant hires is also a necessary responsibility.

Career paths

As an executive assistant is a high-ranking role in the world of administrative career paths, prior work experience in an administrative assistant role is almost always a must. In addition to this work experience, a bachelor’s degree is strongly recommended.

Executive assistants deal with high-level business tasks on a day-to-day basis, be it from research to relaying information to important clients to training new hires. Background knowledge or coursework in business may not always be required by executive assistant roles, however it will be a major boost to any applicant for a high-ranking executive assistant position. If you do not have background knowledge of business operations or a business-specific degree, you are able to be trained on the job and should not be dissuaded from pursuing a career as an executive assistant.

Salary

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for executive assistants is $59,400. In larger markets such as New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago, where there is a heavy presence of corporate executives, there are high-responsibility and high-salary executive assistant positions open. The market for executive assistants has shown no sign of decreasing in terms of positions available, and it is a solid option for anyone who wants to be involved in multiple aspects of business operations and has some business background.

An essential piece

Executive assistants are necessary to getting businesses to the levels of operation they want to be at. The schedules of business executives are typically packed with meetings and other commitments that do not allow them to have enough time in the day for some of their most vital roles, and the help of executive assistants enables the responsibilities of executives to be executed in a timely manner.

Rob Browne
Author

Rob Browne

Rob is a Content Marketing Specialist at G2 Crowd writing about all things marketing. Originally from New Jersey, he previously worked at an NYC-based business travel startup. (he/him/his)