Administrative Professional Skills 2009 Benchmarking Survey

Results from IAAP February 2009 Benchmarking Survey—3,177 total responses

In 2009, members of the International Association of Administrative Professionals were asked to participate in a benchmarking survey designed to gather current data on job titles, key responsibilities, average salaries, job satisfaction, technology usage, training needs and other key issues relating to today’s administrative professionals. Over 3,100 members submitted their survey answers.

Key Findings

Administrative professionals are increasingly becoming more important to their companies, which is clear in the level of authority bosses place on their admins. They want to do a good job but with an increased workload due to downsizing coupled with increased responsibilities, it’s a challenge. Admins state that keeping up with the latest technologies is the most significant issue affecting the profession with doing more with less resources a close second. Even so, today’s office professional is meeting the challenge.

Job responsibilities
When asked if the level of autonomy in making decisions has increased in the last five years, 72 percent said yes, with 25 percent saying it’s increased significantly and 47 percent saying it’s increased some. In the current survey 48 percent of IAAP members said they have taken on more work in the last five years, with 40 percent attributing the increase in work to the current economy.  

Admins are taking on more responsibility. In the 2009 survey 73 percent of admins have increased responsibility at work and 85 percent of admins have seen their overall contribution to their organization increase.

Job duties have been changing for admins. Over the past five years, admins have taken on more management and supervisory roles. Admins are also taking on more long-term project management. When asked: “In what areas have your job responsibilities grown in the past five years?” in the 2009 survey most respondents said they’ve increased in general office management and supervision. Following that is: main liaison to corporate manager or vice president, travel planning, meeting planning and long-term project management.

In the 2005 survey, the top five in order were: general office management/supervision, travel planning, meeting planning, long-term project management and main liaison to corporate manager/VP  

Issues affecting the profession
Survey respondents said the top five most significant issues affecting the administrative profession in the next five to 10 years are: Note: percentages equal more than 100 percent as respondents rated several choices.

Keeping up with changing technology (69 percent)
Doing more with less resources/cost reductions (59 percent)
Corporate downsizing (52 percent)
Increased workload (49 percent)
Balancing work and family (44 percent)

This differs slightly from 2005, where keeping up with changing technology and increased workload were still the top two. However admins had so little concern over corporate downsizing that it didn’t make the top five in the 2005 list. Instead, admins were concerned with doing more with fewer resources (No. 3), balancing work and family (No. 4) and the need for more training in management and supervisory skills (No. 5). 

Workload
Businesses are trending toward having admins support more managers. Most IAAP members (45 percent) support one to two managers with 28 percent supporting three or four managers. Eighteen percent of our members support five to 10 managers and 5 percent support 11 or more. Three percent do not support any executive or manager. The number of executives or managers one admin supports has increased, continuing a trend from 2002, where 57 percent said they supported one or two managers. In 2005, that number dropped to 54 percent and this year to 45 percent. Over the last eight years, admins have increasingly supported more managers. Those supporting 11 or more has also increased from 4 percent in 2005 to 5 percent in 2009. Decisions on staffing ratios of management/executive staff in relation to administrative support staff depends on several factors, such as work volume and the nature of the tasks and responsibilities delegated to the administrative support level, how work flows in the organization, and many other varying factors including the economy.

Education and training
Education is important to our members. Thirty-nine percent of our members have an associate’s degree or higher, up from 37 percent in 2005.  They are also seeking more education. Of those responding, 41 percent have a goal of receiving an associate’s degree with 21 percent of our members working toward a college degree. Most of our members— 64 percent— are working toward a post-high school education.

Companies are supporting training for their administrative staff with 80 percent of our members receiving training from their employer. Admins said they need training the most in: Note: Percentages equal more than 100 percent as respondents rated several choices.

Computer software applications (37 percent)
Technology applications such as web conferencing  (28 percent)
Project management  (20 percent)  
Supervisor/management skills  (20 percent)

Salaries
IAAP members have seen their salaries increase. The 2009 survey results show that 62 percent of our members are earning more than $40,000 per year. The 2005 survey results showed 45 percent of members earning more than $40,000 in base salary annually, compared to 33 percent in a similar 2002 survey and just 8 percent in 1997. Salary increases can be attributed only in part to cost of living increases. With increasing job responsibilities, employers are increasing pay.

Results from the 2009 survey
Note: Some of the answers don’t add up to 100 percent due to the fact some of those taking the survey did not answer all the questions.

What is your current job title?

Administrative assistant

29.87%

Other

26.31%

Executive assistant

22.00%

Office manager or supervisor

4.22%

Administrative coordinator

3.34%

Secretary

3.05%

Executive secretary

2.96%

Administrative secretary

2.30%

Assistant to [exec title]

2.14%

Administrative manager

1.04%

Times have changed since our first survey in 1983 when many still held the title of secretary. In 1983, 33 percent of our members were titled secretary (also executive secretary, administrative secretary...).

1989 – 30 percent
1993 – 24.5 percent
2001 – 20 percent
2005 – 15 percent
2009 – 8 percent

How many years have you worked for your present employer?

0-3 years

2.96%

4-6

5.57%

7-10

9.69%

11-14

10.70%

15-18

13.25%

19-25

23.17%

26+

33.90%

Post-secondary education achieved

Business/Technical School/College - Certificate (9-12 month program)

7.33%

Business/Technical School/College - 1-year program

4.31%

Business/Technical School/College - 2-year program

7.30%

Junior/Community College - Some credit classes

11.80%

Junior/Community College - Associate degree

15.42%

College/University - Some credit classes

18.76%

College/University - Bachelor's degree

17.41%

College/University - Some post-graduate

3.27%

College/University - Master's degree

2.99%

College/University - Doctorate

.03%

None

10.04%

Post-secondary education: Ultimate Goal

Business/Technical School/College - Certificate (9-12 month program)

  3.43%

Business/Technical School/College - 1-year program

    .63%

Business/Technical School/College - 2-year program

  2.42%

Junior/Community College - Some credit classes

  2.27%

Junior/Community College - Associate degree

  7.24%

College/University - Some credit classes

  4.38%

College/University - Bachelor's degree

21.37%

College/University - Some post-graduate

  1.42%

College/University - Master's degree

10.17%

College/University - Doctorate

  1.73%

None

36.32%

 

 

My number one career goal is:

Remain in the administrative professional field

42.02%

Advance career within my company

19.86%

Retire

  8.22%

Move into management

  7.52%

Not sure

  6.48%

Own my own business outside of admin support field

  4.28%

Work as self-employed virtual assistant

  3.78%

Other

  4.03%

Change careers

  3.18%

How many executives or managers do you support?

0

3.02%

1-2

45.01%

3-4

27.98%

5-10

17.97%

11+

  5.48%

Businesses are trending toward having admins support more managers. Most IAAP members (45 percent) support one to two managers with 28 percent supporting three or four managers.

Which of the following best describes the scope of your company?

One location

22.44%

State/province-wide

13.66%

Regional

14.07%

Nationwide

14.51%

International

34.50%

How many employees does your parent company have?

25 or less

  6.33%

26-100

  8.31%

101-500

16.81%

501-999

  9.10%

1,000-4,999

20.59%

5,000-9,999

11.61%

10,000 or more

26.09%

Approximately how many administrative support employees are employed at your particular branch or office?

5 or less

34.91%

6-10

17.15%

11-25

15.23%

26-50

10.04%

51-100

  7.65%

101-250

  5.82%

251-500

  3.75%

501-1,000

  2.20%

1,001 or more

  2.01%

How has the number of support staff changed in your company in the last three years?

Increased

18.54%

Decreased 

39.88%

Stayed the same

34.03%

If staff decreased, how has the workload changed for admin staff?

Increased 

48.06%

Decreased

29%

Stayed the same 

22.54%

If staff decreased, do you believe it’s due to the current economy?

Yes 

39.66%

No

15.11%

Unsure

11.61%

Has the level of authority and autonomy to which you are assigned decision-making responsibility increased in the past five years?

Increased significantly

25.21%

Increased some 

47.34%

Stayed the same 

19.96%

Decreased 

  5.67%

In the past 10 years?

Increased significantly 

42.43%

Increased some 

35.54%

Stayed the same

11.68%

Decreased 

  5.79%

Overall, has the contribution you make within your organization as an administrative professional increased or decreased over the last five years?

Increased significantly

47.94%

Increased some

37.24%

Stayed the same 

  8.59%

Decreased

  4.22%

When there is company downsizing, there is a trend to increase administrative assistants’ job duties and responsibilities. In the 2009 survey 73 percent of admins have increased responsibility and 85 percent of admins have seen their overall contribution to their organization increase.

Do you have supervisory responsibilities?

Yes

26.98%

No 

71.89%

Is training provided by your employer?

Yes

 80.45%

No

18.51%

How many hours of training per year are provided by your employer both on and off site.

1-4

18.89%

5-10 

22.44%

11+

38.37%

None

17.47%

The top five areas that admins say they need training in order: computer/software applications, technical applications such as web conferencing, project management, supervisory/management skills, organizational skills.

 Which of the following software do you use?

E-mail

97.29%

Word processing

96.22%

Spreadsheet

94.68%

Scheduling/Calendaring

90.49%

Presentation

64.72%

Database management

52.12%

Desktop publishing

39.94%

Accounting

28.55%

Project management

17.94%

Web design

14.98%

Authoring

  8.31%

Voice recognition

  4.28%

Do you troubleshoot and/or train coworkers in computer applications?

Yes 

58.67%

No

40.13%

Do you recommend or are you responsible for making purchasing decisions?

Recommend

33.05%

Purchase 

44.04%

Neither

22.02%

What type of office equipment, supplies and/or services do you recommend or initiate purchasing?

Desk supplies (staplers, pens, etc.)

82.25%

Filing equipment/supplies

75.79%

Paper supplies

66.95%

Airline, travel, hotel reservations

61.79%

Flowers/gift baskets/corporate gifts

58.48%

Meeting and special event expenses

50.36%

Printing/mailing services

47.69%

Copiers, supplies

42.30%

Desks, chairs, office furniture

40.82%

Personal computers/computer supplies

29.05%

Peripherals (scanners, printers…)

28.20%

Computer software/hardware

27.79%

Courier services

26.35%

Training

26.13%

Temporary help

23.61%

Telephone equipment, services

22.38%

Wireless equipment

14.16%

Videoconferencing

11.43%

Equipment leasing

10.64%

Vending items

  9.82%

Other

  3.40%

What is the approximate total value of the products/services you purchase for your company annually? (includesoffice supplies, travel, meeting expenses, temporary staffing, etc.)

Under $5,000

29.46%

$5,000 - $24,999 

32.61%

$25,000 - $49,999 

12.34%

$50,000+

15.08%

Please indicate your current annual base salary income (in US $).

Less than $15,000

    .66%

$15,000 - $24,999

  3.75%

$25,000 - $29,000

  6.04%

$30,000 - $34,999

11.52%

$35,000 - $39,999

13.88%

$40,000 - $44,999

14.95%

$45,000 - $49,999

14.04%

$50,000 - $54,999

12.18%

$55,000 - $59,999

  7.65%

$60,000 - $64,999

  4.53%

$65,000 - $69,999

  3.53%

$70,000 +

  5.38%