Most PAs are better qualified than their bosses

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The Independent Online

The majority of secretaries and personal assistants are better qualified than their bosses - and they are more likely to have postgraduate degrees and be fluent in languages.

The majority of secretaries and personal assistants are better qualified than their bosses - and they are more likely to have postgraduate degrees and be fluent in languages.

An independent analysis of the qualifications of more than 100 PAs, secretaries and bosses from a wide range of businesses showed that an increasing number of highly qualified people are choosing the secretarial route to make their mark in a company. Technology and a more informal working environment have relieved them of writing endless letters, allowing the freedom to take on other responsibilities.

"The job has grown," said Marjory Mair, head of secretarial and administrative development at the Industrial Society. "There is a lot more responsibility in the job, which is attracting people with higher qualifications. Some secretaries are taking on responsibilities that would previously have been given to middle managers and are acting as assistant executive directors, taking control of budgets and business decisions."

The study, commissioned by DeskDemon, an online service for managers, shows that 37 per cent of secretaries and PAs have graduated from university, with 63 per cent obtaining a second-class honours degree or better.

More than half, 52 per cent, were better qualified than their bosses. They were also twice as likely to have additional qualifications, such as postgraduate degrees or vocational certificates. Three out of 10 said they spoke French, German or Spanish fluently, and a further 4 per cent claimed competency in other languages, including Japanese and Portuguese. By contrast, only one in 10 bosses claimed any proficiency in languages.

The research showed that a large proportion of secretaries are now in charge of budgets and, nationwide, have an office spending power of about £2bn.

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