Executive Assistant roles are increasingly popular with graduates. This is because it gives you exposure to business in the executive arena, which can open many opportunities. Additionally, the job has become more senior over time. This is largely due to changes in the way business runs and greater automation taking away the need for lots of administrative support for management. This has led to many Executive Assistants becoming more focused on providing business support. This change makes the role for more attractive to graduates.

Executive assistants are typically either graduates with a college degree or experienced administrators who have been promoted. Alternatively, they may have earned their executive assistant certification from an online course. They are not receptionists or secretaries, but they do far more business support. This means that they no longer are spending hours organizing diaries, typing letters and corresponding by email. Their role is no much more focussed on the executive level. This means they are often involved in business processes. 

The Executive Assistant is looking to be a partner of the Executive and to be their right hand. This means that they help to executive optimize their performance in the role. They need to be able to prioritize their roles and ensure that they are synchronized with their manager.

Executive Assistant Job Description

There are some tasks that Executive Assistants will share with other Assistants, like Administrative and Personal Assistants (PAs). Here is a list of some tasks:

  • Email Management
  • Diary Management
  • Timekeeping
  • Meeting deadlines
  • Communication with key customers
  • Acting as the face of the organization
  • Travel booking
  • Event Management
  • Invoices and Expenses

They will need to multitask and be very well organised in order to be able to deliver this mixed role well. This means having a very well structured plan when you approach your work. 

What does an Executive Assistant Earn?

The average salary for an Executive Assistant in Germany according the IEAA, a professional body for Executive Assistant, is between €50 and €60K per year. They included large cities like Berlin, Munich, Dusseldorf, Hamburg and Frankfurt. However, we did see some very high salaries being recorded of €88K in one of those cities.

In the United Kingdom, we saw average salaries in London of £40K, but other major cities citing the average to be much lower around £30-32K. Additionally, the higher end London salaries could be as high as £60K.

In France, Parisian salaries was reported to be approximately in €46K and going as high as €60K+. These were very similar to London, but lower than Germany.

Executive Assistant Qualities

There are a wide range of skills and personal qualities for an Executive Assistant. Here are some of them:

  • Business awareness
  • Commercial Awareness
  • Assertiveness
  • Ability to prioritize
  • Ability to make decision
  • Leadership
  • Taking the initiative
  • Always being proactive
  • Stakeholder management
  • Communication skills

These are all more managerial qualities and not what you associate with an administration role like and administrative assistant.

What’s a typical day like for an executive assistant?

This is just impossible to ask and answer. The issue is that there are just so many variables between jobs. The role means you support the Executive, so there are some standards like managing the diary or emails. 

However, every manager will have different priorities and work and you have to support the workload. It can be very variable work. The reality is you need to be adaptable and a fast learner. If you cannot adapt, you will experience issues at work, as your support will not be ideal. 

What are the usual job requirements?

Employers like Executive Assistants to have good qualifications and you can get qualifications from a number of training providers. They expect communication skills that will support them be ideal for a first point of contact. 

You need to be able to work closely with your manager and adapt the fast pace. 

You need to be able to deal with confidentiality and sensitivity, as many things will be shown to you.

Any roles like to see that you have business skills like event management, project management, knowledge of finance, knowledge of budgeting and much more. 

Executive Assistants in essence hold together the business and if they are way, you may find a panicked manager. This means that they often hold the knowledge needed inside the organisation. 

The reality is that this career is evolving from an administrative support role to a business support role and this is very appealing to new graduates. Anyone with ambition to reach the top should consider that Executive Assistants get exposure that other entry roles cannot even begin to consider. 

Additionally, no gender stereotypes. There are no a mixture of male and female Executive Assistants, so please do not assume that an Executive assistant is going to be female. Anyone looking for a career should reconsider the Executive Assistant role for their future.