The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that employment for administrative assistants will increase slightly faster than for other professions through the year 2022. The largest increase is in medical administration. Other fields, such as legal secretaries and executive secretaries, are expected to remain unchanged or see slight declines.
There is a continual need for support staff, and the overall current growth in the job market for administrative assistants primarily reflects the replacement of workers who leave their positions.
Although technology has taken over some of the work historically done by administrative staff, a considerable amount of the work done by administrative personnel is interactive and requires interpersonal and communication skills that technology cannot replace.
The growth is also evidence that organizations who cut back their support stuff during the financial downturn of the last decade are beginning to reintroduce those positions, making them more readily available. Departments that have been lacking in administrative staff understand their value. Without support staff, it is difficult, if not impossible, to maintain optimal levels of productivity or customer service, which ultimately damages the company’s financial bottom line.
The outlook for executive-level administrative assistants, however, is virtually stagnant. The Bureau of Labor Statistics attributes the lack of growth for more experienced or skilled admin staff to the replacement of executive assistants by lower-level administrative personnel who receive less pay. Also, it is not uncommon these days for managers to take care of tasks that may have been done previously by executive secretaries, such as drafting correspondence, organizing files and scheduling appointments.
One industry that's expected to see enormous growth over the next decades is medical administration. The BLS estimates that employment levels for medical administrative staff will grow dramatically due to increased access to and demand for medical care. Legal secretaries, however, are projected to see a decrease over time as firms rely more heavily on paralegals.
One thing that makes a career as an administrative assistant attractive is that it usually does not require a college degree. High school graduates can generally qualify for entry-level work as long as they have basic office and computer skills. However, employment in specialized fields, such as accounting, law or medicine, requires additional training. To qualify as an executive secretary necessitates several years of related experience. The best administrative assistants are those who are up-to-date with technical skills, particularly those involving office productivity software. They should also be effective communicators with a strong sense of accountability.
The overall employment market for administrative professionals is looking up. Employment for administrative assistants is growing at a slightly higher rate than for other professions, and after a period of staff reductions, businesses are now beginning to boost administrative personnel, particularly in the medical sector.
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