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office* show organiser announces results of annual National PA Day Survey
Diversified Business Communications UKSep 12, 2012 09:00 BST
Event organiser Diversified Business Communications UK have released a summary of the results of this year’s National PA Survey, which will be unveiled in full today, on National PA Day, at the office* show at Olympia National Hall, London.
The latest findings of the survey, which was completed by a sample of 1430 PAs working across the UK last month, offer a succinct reminder of the importance – and necessity – of a strong, close working relationship between a PA and their boss. Given that over 56% of last year’s respondents felt more loyal to their boss than their company or colleagues, many of this year’s questions were framed to explore that relationship more fully.
With recent advances in technology having taken over many of the more traditional PA roles, the last fifteen years have seen a shift in responsibilities and the majority of PAs (56%) now considering their role to be of greater importance. Naturally, that also means that expectations – and workloads – have increased in kind.
Traditionally the link between senior management and the outside world, as well as other departments and staff inside an organisation, PAs have always been the confidante of some of the most sensitive information in any company. When asked to consider the most important qualities of a successful modern PA therefore, perhaps unsurprisingly, 64% of this year’s respondents placed ‘discretion/confidentiality’ firmly on top. This is followed by ‘multi-tasking’ at 40% and ‘initiative’ at 28%, with many PAs commenting that their role is now more much complex and that they are more dynamic members of their company’s management teams as a result. ‘Presentation’ meanwhile garnered less than a single percent.
When asked how well these additional responsibilities and general expectations of their role were reflected in their pay, over half (51%) of PAs said good or excellent, compared to 35% reporting it is average. Whilst a question on salary bands, showed the majority were split evenly between £21,000 and £35,000, with the average salary around the £30,000 mark. However, there was a stark comparison between respondents at the top and bottom ends of the pay spectrum, with 2% earning less than £15,000 and 2% earning in excess of £50,000; with the highest reported salary given at £75,000.
Overall, the results of the 2nd annual National PA Survey paint a distinctly positive picture of how the UK’s PAs feel about their role and the importance of the work they do, with 63% of respondents stating that they felt ‘appreciated’ by their boss. A resounding 81% said that they felt that their boss was ‘very good or excellent’ at their job, with many leaving glowing testimonials. The majority (54%) would also feel ‘disappointed’, or even ‘betrayed and angry’ (7%), if asked to work for a different boss ‘tomorrow’.
By comparison however, PAs don’t view their career prospects or development opportunities so favourably. Nearly three quarters of all respondents (72%) said that they felt being a PA was undervalued as a professional career choice. It is this strength of feeling and perceived lack of professional recognition that first led to the launch of National PA Day last year.
“It is vital that all organisations recognise what an 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 Business Communications UK, organiser of office*, the UK’s only dedicated annual event for PAs and EAs. “It’s quite extraordinary how much good PAs really do and National PA Day is the perfect way to celebrate their achievements and to encourage greater support and recognition of the individuals working within one of the biggest and most important professions in the UK.”
To register for a free entry pass to office* 2012, which includes free entry to the Keynote Theatre, please visit https://secure.smartregister.co.uk/events/divcom/2012/Office/start.aspx?code=OFF119.
Summary of 2nd annual National PA Survey
Last month, as part of the 2nd Annual National PA Day, office* conducted the National PA Survey. The results provide a fascinating insight into the role of PAs in today’s offices and some great anecdotes. A taste of the results can be found below, whilst a full list of responses will be available to download at www.officeshow.co.uk after the event.
How well do you feel your pay reflects what is expected of you in your role?
- Excellent: 10.7%
- Good: 40.8%
- Average: 34.6%
- Poor: 13.8%
What would you consider to be the most important qualities of a successful PA?
- Loyalty: 15.9%
- Accuracy: 17.9%
- Discretion/Confidentiality: 64.2%
- Presentation: 0.5%
- Initiative: 27.6%
- Time Management: 20.9%
- Multi tasking: 40.4%
- Leadership: 2.2%
- Confident Personality: 7.7%
On a scale of 1-5, where 5 is the highest, how appreciated do you feel by your boss?
- 1 - 3.0%
- 2 - 7.4%
- 3 - 26.6%
- 4 - 38.2%
- 5 - 24.8%
On a scale of 1-5, where 5 is the highest, how good do you think your boss is at his job?
- 1 - 1.2%
- 2 - 4.7%
- 3 - 13.4%
- 4 - 40.1%
- 5 - 40.7%
How important do you feel the PA role is compared to 15 years ago?
- Much less important: 5.6%
- Slightly less important - 13.2%
- Same importance: 16.4%
- Slightly more important: 17.9%
- Much more important: 38.2%
- Not sure: 8.7%
Do you feel that being a PA is undervalued as a professional career choice?
- Yes: 71.9%
- No: 21.7%
- No opinion: 6.4%
What is the best thing you have been asked to do?
The responses to this question show how satisfying it can be to work as a PA or EA – with the occasional glamorous ‘perk’. Here are just some of the highlights:
- Attend a garden party at Buckingham Palace as a guest of the Duke of Edinburgh
- Arrange a Christmas party with a budget of £25k
- Appear in a popular TV programme as one of our Board Directors is a celebrity
- To simply be the representative for my boss when they are not there, it is great to know that you are valued and trusted
- Contribute to an employee engagement panel. It was nice to feel that my opinion counted, and that I could make a real difference, if only for a short while!
- Organise a customer corporate event at the Monaco Grand Prix
- Incorporate Group HR into my role
- Organise a company 75 year celebration in Disneyland Paris which involved charter flights, organising a celebration dinner, accommodation and activities
- To be involved in our Queens Award for Enterprise – it made me feel very proud to be part of our company's achievement.
- Represent my boss at a meeting in the US
- Carry out my own projects with total responsibility for budget control, without micro management
- Being asked to attend a meeting with my boss because, and I quote, "it makes me feel more confident just having you in the room"
That’s NOT in my job description!
For some light relief the survey also asked what the most ridiculous thing respondents had ever been asked to do. Here are just a few excerpts:
- Sit in at boss's flat and wait for a Sky installation man
- Clean a house when the cleaner was ill
- Homework for my boss's child...and also homework his wife’s teacher training course
- Booking a bikini wax
- Buy some puppies for my boss!
- To buy a client some pyjamas
- My boss asks me to print docs for him, single page and asks me to check it has been printed properly. He doesn't allow me to do anything more responsible than this each day
- Intervene in an argument between my boss's mother-in-law and her daughter
- Go to a pet shop to ask whether goldfish can go blind!
- Contact the CEO of Whittards to find out why they had discontinued a certain tea
- Type up the minutes of a Freemason's meeting!
- To source the best HRT treatment for my bosses wife
- Phone Apple to try and secure early delivery of iPads
- Arrange "escort girls" for a boss I worked for
- Buy socks for a Board member who hadn't packed any
- Take my boss's Dad to the seaside for a day out!
- Take part in It's a knockout dressed as a penguin
- Clear leaves blocking a drain and causing a leak in the roof by hanging out of 3-storey window in the pouring rain
- Hold a plane at the airport due to boss being held up in traffic
Note: This report contains a detailed statistical analysis of the results to the survey titled 2nd Annual National PA Survey. The results include answers from all 1430 respondents who took part in the survey between Friday 3 and Friday 17 August 2012.
To register for a free entry pass to office* 2012, which includes free entry to the Keynote Theatre, please visit https://secure.smartregister.co.uk/events/divcom/2012/Office/start.aspx?code=OFF119. Please note, a door charge will apply for visitors who have not pre-registered online in advance of attending.
office* exhibitor enquiries:
Ali Mead, office* Event Manager
t: +44 (0)1273 645124 e: firstname.lastname@example.org