Personal or executive assistants work closely with senior managers and executives, supporting them and carrying out a range of tasks for them. They help managers to make the best use of their time by dealing with administrative tasks. They are also known as PAs.
You could be:
reading and replying to emails and postal mail and taking phone calls for your manager
deciding which matters to deal with yourself and which to pass on to your manager
managing the diary, making appointments and booking travel tickets and accommodation
organising meetings or conferences, booking rooms and arranging refreshments
accompanying your manager to meetings and welcoming the people attending
preparing papers for meetings and IT equipment for presentations and making sure copies of all papers are sent to the right people
taking minutes at meetings, typing them out afterwards and sending them to all who were present
collecting information, doing research and writing reports.
You could also be:
managing an office, supervising clerical staff
dealing with budgets and accounts
buying or hiring new office equipment, updating computer systems or arranging office moves.
The figures below are only a guide. Actual pay rates may vary, depending on:
where you work
the size of company or organisation you work for
the demand for the job.
Starting salaries for personal or executive assistants in Scotland tend to be in the range of £17,500 to £23,000 a year. With experience this can rise to over £35,000 a year.
You would work at a desk in an office.
Your basic hours would normally be Monday to Friday, 9.00am-5.00pm.
However, you may have to travel to meetings, possibly in other parts of the country.
Your hours could then be long, including evenings and weekends.
You might have to spend some nights away from home.
You would usually work for people who have very demanding jobs and who are often under pressure. Some of that pressure could also affect you.
You are unlikely to get into this job straight from school.
You might be able to work your way up from an administrative or secretarial job, with part time study for a Scottish Vocational Qualification (SVQ) in business and administration or a similar subject.
You could take a National Certificate (NC), National Qualification (NQ) or a Higher National Certificate (HNC), Higher National Diploma (HND) or a degree in administration or business before applying for a job.
There are often no formal entry requirements for an NC or NQ, but you need 1-2 Highers for an HNC or HND and 4-5 Highers for a degree.
You need previous work experience in an office.
You must have good IT skills including word processing and spreadsheet packages.
SkillsCFA is a registered charity promoting skills and qualifications in the workplace. Its work also involves apprenticeships and training programmes across the UK for a whole range of business skills.
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