Diversified Communications UK, organiser of office*, the two-day exhibition and conference for PAs, EAs, VAs, secretaries, office managers and executive support professionals, has released a summary of the results of this year’s National PA Survey.
The latest findings of the survey, which is now in its sixth year, are being unveiled to mark National PA Day today (11th May).
Completed by 1,000 PAs working in business and industry, finance, education, and the public and not-for-profit sectors, the 2016 survey certainly revealed some surprising results with only 12% saying that they felt that being a PA was respected as a professional career choice by ‘society in general’.
Whilst the PA role has evolved almost unrecognisably over the last 10-20 years, many outdated attitudes, particularly around specific job responsibilities, persist. Notably, over half of this year’s surveyed PAs have been in their role for over 11 years (27% for over 21 years), so will have witnessed these changes first hand.
To highlight how the reality of the PA role differs from the perception of the role and its responsibilities, Diversified UK asked PAs to outline their day-to-day activities, versus what they believed other people thought they did.
Perhaps unsurprising making tea and coffee, filing documents, and answering the phone revealed the greatest discrepancies between the two ‘perspectives’; with PAs saying that they actually spend more time on project management, HR, and managing budgets than those three duties combined. Only diary management and arranging meeting for bosses secured a majority on both lists.
The 2016 survey also reaffirmed last year’s findings that the number of bosses/managers being supported by a sole PA is on the rise – with a significant 49% of PAs reporting an increase.
In 2011, a quarter of PAs supported over 3 managers. That figure hit 40% for 2015. Of the 49% of PAs that reported an increase this year, 69% now support 1-2 additional bosses since they first started their present role. That means their workload has at least doubled. For a further 19% of PAs it’s tripled and for 12% it’s quadrupled. Yet only one in five of them has received a pay increase for this extra work.
If you could work for anyone as a PA, who would it be?
Entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson was voted by Britain’s PAs as their ideal boss, beating even their current bosses into second place. The top ten also included The Queen (3), President Barack Obama (4), Prime Minister David Cameron (5), Oprah Winfrey (6), David and Victoria Beckham (7), Karren Brady CBE (=8), Boris Johnson MP (=8), and Lord Alan Sugar (=8).
office* is taking place at the new venue of ExCeL London. Opening times are 9am to 5pm on Wednesday and Thursday, 11th-12th May (last entry one hour before close).