An Executive Assistant – often abbreviated to EA – provides key administrative and business support to one or more Directors, CEOs and other senior management figures in a business.
In many ways, the role of an Executive Assistant is similar to that of a Personal Assistant (PA), with crossover areas including taking telephone calls, drafting correspondence, organising meetings, booking travel and diary management.
However, EAs have greater responsibility and influence over the business or organisation for which they work than PAs do. For example, the duties of an Executive Assistant can include overseeing budgets, standing in for their bosses during meetings and project management.
The remit of an Executive Assistant can be incredibly broad, and due to the busy and demanding lives of their bosses, EAs will find that their list of tasks and priorities shift on a near-daily basis. However, as a guide, the key responsibilities of an Executive Assistant usually include:
• Extensive calendar and diary management
• Answering and directing telephone calls
• Managing your boss’ email inbox and sending responses
• Coordinating schedules, meetings and appointments
• Arranging travel and booking accommodation
• Providing general administrative support
• Preparing memos, letters, invoices, statements and other documents
• Liaising with clients, colleagues and other EAs
• Greeting visitors and clients
• Management and oversight of business projects
• Attending meetings with your boss and recording minutes
• Taking meetings and reporting back with actions
• Involvement with interviewing, hiring and training staff
• Maintaining and monitoring budgets and expenses
• Arranging dinners, social events and public appearances
• Producing timelines and reviews of projects
• Researching new business ventures or projects
There is no set qualification pathway to becoming an Executive Assistant, although many employers require applicants who are educated to degree level.
Instead, importance is placed upon the experience that EA candidates have built up over their career to date. Those looking at taking on their first Executive Assistant role will likely need to demonstrate experience in increasingly senior support roles, while the most senior figures in business often seek those with several years of existing EA experience.
Key Executive Assistant skills include:
• Exceptional organisational and diary management skills
• High levels of flexibility and adaptability
• Flawless communication and presentation skills, both written and verbal
• Excellent telephone manner
• The ability to multitask and prioritise an everchanging workload
• The ability to work under pressure and reach deadlines
• Problem-solving and decision-making skills
• The ability to work autonomously
• The ability to determine which emails, reports, telephone calls etc need to reach your boss and which do not
• Strong business and commercial acumen
• The ability to communicate with and present to senior management and executives
• The ability to build relationships at all levels across the business and with external contacts
• Experience using the full Microsoft Office suite
• Drafting, writing and research skills
According to our 2018 Salary Insight Report, Executive Assistants are awarded an average salary of £44,632 per annum, making them the highest paid support professionals. Additionally, 64% of EAs reported receiving a bonus in 2018.
The same report found that pay gap between EAs and PAs had grown to 24%, showing that as the roles become more distinguished, those in executive positions are being rewarded duly for the extra responsibility they carry.
Are you looking for EA jobs? SecsintheCity is the UK’s only specialist job site for Executive Assistants, so whether you are seeking roles in banking, technology, consultancy services, or a range of other industry sectors, start your job search with us today.