Are Administrative Assistants Declining?

Julie Shenkman
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When analyzing your long-term career goals, you might be considering pursuing an administrative assistant career to utilize your impeccable organizational, time management and multitasking skills. During days of old, these jobs often gave you a high level of financial security. However, before you begin applying for administrative assistant jobs, it is wise to take a closer look at the overwhelming proof that this line of work might be fading into the great career abyss.

According to an article about the changing world of administrative assistants, both the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the International Association of Administrative Professionals, (IAAP) report that administrative assistant job openings will experience slower than average growth over the next 10 years. While properly credentialed medical office assistants and legal assistants will enjoy escalating career opportunities, general support administrative assistants will not. One of the major reasons for this looming downshift in administrative assistant jobs includes phone system and message computerization implementation.

Another large factor in the future lack of available administrative assistant jobs is organizational restructuring. Gone are the days of one administrative assistant assigned to support one manager. Administrative assistant job hiring managers expect applicants to be able to support entire departments.

According to David Nicklaus of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, IHS Global Insight, an international economic forecasting firm, reports that many companies found they did not need the support staff they were forced to let go during the economic recession. In fact, between 2007 and 2012, 1.9 million administrative assistant jobs were lost. Left with a skeleton staff, managers learned to take care of their own administrative duties and author their own correspondence pieces. These managers admitted that the modern office support technology equaled or exceeded the performance of their former administrative assistants. Interestingly, the IHS Global Insight report also reveals that some administrative assistants could not keep up with the ever-evolving tasks required in their positions.

If you are still thinking about shooting for an administrative assistant career, for your most promising long-term employment outlook, go for the administrative assistant job openings that support senior managers. In these positions, you are expected to have high-level skills like project organization and conference planning that support CEOs and CFOs. These fast-paced careers also require tactful phone manners and elevated interpersonal skills.

The findings clearly show that administrative assistant jobs are harder to get and require more skills than ever. Position yourself as a front-runner for one of these jobs by staying up with the emerging office support software and refining your multitasking skills. When you apply for an administrative assistant job, highlight your accomplishments within your former positions with cold hard facts and figures instead of vague generalities, and list your office support software expertise.


(Photo courtesy of (Stockimages)/


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