Today's office setting is fast paced. Producing reports, coordinating face-to-face and virtual meetings, establishing and achieving timelines for projects and maintaining records are just some of the activities which administrative assistants are expected to do.
A typical day for an administrative assistant can include:
- Developing a sales report using spreadsheet software
- Working with customers and clients
- Scheduling meetings and appointments
- Preparing PowerPoint presentations incorporating graphs, charts, data, video, and audio
- Corresponding by phone, fax, or e-mail with clients all over the country and the world
- Researching topics on the Internet
- Coordinating video conferences
- Training coworkers
- Developing database systems for tracking customers
Because of increased workflow efficiency as a result of technology, many routine tasks that once were performed manually are now automated. Tasks that were performed by administrative assistants are being replaced by increasing levels of responsibility once reserved for managerial and professional staff.
The majority of secretaries and administrative assistants positions are full-time positions but part-time opportunities do exist as 18 percent of secretaries work part-time. Nearly 60 percent of administrative assistants are employed in service industries ranging from education, banking, insurance, investment and real estate. Other important employers include manufacturing, construction, wholesale and retail trade, as well as government agencies.
Most administrative assistants work a standard 40-hour week, Monday through Friday. Peak workload periods and deadlines may make it necessary to work overtime hours requiring some flexibility in scheduling.
It is also becoming more common for administrative assistants to work for several different individuals and/or departments. This is a result of increased office automation and company restructuring, making this type of position more and more productive and efficient.
Technology plays an increasing role in the typical office setting. Maintaining customer databases; knowing how to integrate information from different software packages; coordinating videoconferencing; and preparing charts, slides, and handouts for multimedia presentations are just a few of the daily activities that you might encounter as an administrative assistant.
Nationally, new job opportunities for administrative assistants are expected to grow by 12 percent by 2020. Within Michigan, jobs are expected to remain relatively constant with about 7 percent job growth by 2018.
According to LMC Administrative Office Systems instructor and advisor Lisa Augustiniak, becoming an administrative assistant can lead to office management positions with higher wages and greater responsibility.