Facts About Administrative Assistants

Julie Shenkman
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Today's administrative assistant is an essential part of any successful organization. Quill conducted a survey of over 1,500 administrative assistants to define characteristics of the typical admin. Most administrative assistant facts line up with what people already assume about the profession: the majority are female, they are responsible for many different tasks and they are responsible for keeping the office running smoothly. However, some administrative assistants revealed facts in the survey that may surprise you.


According to the survey, administrative assistants are overwhelmingly female; 85 percent of survey respondents were women. They also tend to be over the age of 40. Most survey respondents were in their 40s or 50s, with 30 percent and 31 percent of the vote, respectively. Only 17 percent of respondents were in their 20s, and 15 percent were in their 60s.

Clerical Duties

An administrative assistant is a master at multitasking and must be able to smoothly and quickly move between different tasks with ease. Traditionally, an administrative assistant handles a myriad of clerical duties, including filing, organizing documents, data entry, answering phone calls and opening and sorting mail. Sixty-four percent of administrative assistants surveyed maintain calendars, and 55 percent plan meetings and other events.

Beyond Clerical Duties

An administrative assistant's job does not end with clerical duties. As companies become more technologically advanced, the admin's role must also expand to include technical responsibilities, such as maintaining a company's social media pages and online profile or adding new content to the company's website. Twenty-two percent of respondents said that they list "Social Media Manager" as one of their responsibilities. Admins are taking on more financial responsibility, too; 47 percent of surveyed admins stated they are responsible for their company's budget and payroll, and 45 percent reported their duties included human resource functions.


Administrative assistants are a hardworking bunch. Forty-four percent of survey respondents stated their workloads increased in the past year, while another 16 percent reported a substantial workload increase. This could be due to a variety of reasons, but the main point is that an admin is indispensable to an organization, so in the face of company downsizing or reorganization, the administrative assistant often takes the brunt of the new workload. The good news is that an overwhelming majority of people claim their admins are highly appreciated, and admins agree, as 79 percent of administrative assistants surveyed stated they feel appreciated by their employers.

An administrative assistant's job can be quite challenging at times due to the dynamic nature of the role. However, many find that they enjoy its challenges, as no two days are ever alike and boredom is rare. Performing well as an administrative assistant means being highly organized, adept at written and verbal communication, technologically savvy, highly flexible and a critical thinker.

Photo courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net



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  • DAVID Y.
    DAVID Y.

    Reassuring facts about administrative assistants.

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Jeanie thank you for that. I loved being an AA also. Yes the pay does seem to be lower for females than for males and it's not just in the admin asst world, either. Hopefully, someday, we will find equality in pay across the board.

  • Jeanie M.
    Jeanie M.

    All that work and low pay to boot! I love being an admin assistant. Because most are female, the pay tends to be low. At least here in the south.

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