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1st annual National PA Survey results announced

1st annual National PA Survey results announced

UK Survey reveals feelings of the nation’s PAs

To coincide with the launch of the UK’s first ever National PA Day, event organisers Diversified Business Communications UK have announced a summary of the UK’s 1st annual National PA Survey results, which are set to be unveiled in full at the office* show at Earls Court, London, later today. 

Introduced to discover more about the feelings and aspirations of the UK’s estimated 600,000 personal assistants and executive assistants, the 1st annual National PA Survey – one of the most comprehensive surveys of Britain’s PAs ever undertaken – was completed by 1,637 respondents during the last week of August 2011 (Friday 26 August and Thursday 1 September). 

Providing a & lsquo;snapshot’ of how today’s PAs view their role in the workplace, the results show that the majority of survey participants are highly motivated and enjoy the important work that they do.  When asked what three things most motivated respondents to go to work, & lsquo;Good Pay’ actually came in sixth place (34%), behind & lsquo;Working Environment’ (41%), & lsquo;My Colleagues’ (40%), and & lsquo;Feeling Recognised and Respected’ (36%), whilst the most popular answer – perhaps unsurprisingly given the nature of the close working relationship required – was a & lsquo;Great Boss’ at 46%, followed closely by & lsquo;Variety of Role’ at 45%. 

On the opposite end of the spectrum, the three things that most frustrated respondents about their job was a perceived & lsquo;Lack of Career Opportunities’ at 46%, followed by & lsquo;Pay’ at 35% and & lsquo;Lack of Recognition’ at 32%.  Only 8% thought their career prospects were & lsquo;Very Good’, with a further 63% saying they were reasonable but that the onus was very much on them.

It is the results to the survey’s question on loyalty however, that perhaps most illustrate the uniqueness of the PA’s role in the work place.  When asked who they felt most loyal to, the majority of PAs – over 56% – responded with & lsquo;My Boss’, compared to & lsquo;The Company’ at 24% and  & lsquo;My Colleagues’ at 20%.  The results offer a succinct reminder of how important a strong, close working relationship is to ensuring the professional success of both individuals – the PA and their respective boss.

Dispelling the myths and common misconceptions of overworked and under-paid PAs, the overall results of the 1st annual National PA Survey paint a distinctly positive picture of how recognised and valued the UK’s PAs actually feel, with 63% of respondents stating that they felt & lsquo;Very valued’ by their boss, and 53% & lsquo;Very valued’ by their work colleagues.

Whilst some of the survey’s results are perhaps not too surprising, it was the incredible variety of responses to the final two questions that is perhaps the most revealing about today’s PA workforce.  When asked what the & lsquo;best thing’ that respondents had been asked to do, answers ranged from “spending half a million on corporate gifts in Harrods” to holidaying in their “boss’s house in Antigua”.  Some PAs meet PMs and royalty regularly, whilst many visited events around the world as a matter of course, often travelling in 1st Class, and sometimes even in private planes.

Of course whilst every job has its ups and downs, its perks and its & lsquo;that’s not in my job description’ moments, many of the survey’s respondents had much more to say on the latter.  When asked about the & lsquo;most ridiculous thing’ they had ever been asked to do, answers included a host of inappropriate & lsquo;personal’ requests such as “Spy on a husband” “Buy birthday cards for the boss’s wife and new mistress at the same time” “Collect boss’s father’s ashes” “Escort our MD to the station as he was afraid of getting lost” “Shopping for a rubber ring for a piles sufferer” “Fly to Berlin in order to get access to Duty Free at Heathrow to buy a Chanel bag for my boss’s wife” “Writing love letters to female friends”, and being told to “Walk like a model!”. 

Commenting on the results, Carsten Holm, managing director of Diversified Business Communications UK, organiser of office*, the UK’s only dedicated annual event for PAs and EAs, said: “Thankfully, the majority of the PAs we surveyed have a fantastic relationship with their bosses and feel their skills are valued and respected.  However, there were always going to be exceptions out of over 1600 responses.” 

“Whilst some of the responses to our last survey question may produce a chuckle or two, it’s important to remember that PAs are highly-skilled professionals doing a fantastic.  They are a surrogate wife or husband.  Although it’s easy to see how some personal/professional boundaries can cross over at times, it’s vital that all bosses recognise what an important asset their PA is, one that certainly shouldn’t ever get taken for granted,” says Holm.

The full survey results will be unveiled at office* today, taking place at Earls Court Exhibition Centre, London.  The two-day event features over 160 exhibitors, free Keynotes, expert training and unparalleled networking for over 5000 PAs. 


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