‘Traditional’ secretary is now extinct

Traditional roles of secretaries as typists, dictation-takers and tea-makers are long gone, according to new research.

Today’s support staff have all the skills needed for managerial posts – and the secretary’s role is now much more of a stepping-stone to other line positions.

Research of almost 250 secretaries by recruitment consultancy Parker Bridge found that two-thirds had responsibilities usually associated with other managerial functions. These included organising events and conferences, project management, staff hires, marketing, PR and presentation planning. More than half (58 per cent) regularly use presentation software.

Less than half of the respondents (46 per cent) cited typing as a main part of their role. One PA said that she was almost an ‘assistant manager’ to her boss. “He doesn’t get to see about two-thirds of what comes in – because he doesn’t need to,” she said.

When asked about career development, 56 per cent said they view their role as a stepping-stone to alternative line positions.
Shelly Casley, associate director at Parker Bridge, said: “The role of the secretary, PA and administrator has changed. Roles are much less clearly defined, and there is far more scope today to develop careers in other areas.

“Employers are increasingly looking for more varied skill sets that are easily transferable into junior and middle management.”

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