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New year, new salary: but what skills do PAs need to boost their pay in 2019?

By Roddy Adair, Director, Hays Personal & Executive Assistants

It’s no secret that PAs and EAs are increasingly seen not only as vital to increasing the productivity of busy senior managers and departments, but as strategic business partners who run their own projects and keep information flowing throughout organisations. As a result, demand for good PAs and EAs will continue to rise in 2019.

However, PA and EA employers are gravely concerned about skills shortages.

In fact, according to our latest Hays UK Salary & Recruiting Trends report, of the 75% of PA and EA employers who plan to hire this year, a huge 66% expect to encounter a shortage of suitable candidates over the next 12 months.

So, what does this mean for you and your pay?

With the increase in demand for PAs and EAs, there are real opportunities to boost your pay. But what exactly are the skills that employers are looking for? What can you do to set yourself apart from your peers and capture the best possible salary?

1. Find a niche and become a specialist

PAs and EAs who have experience in specialist areas are among those who will be best placed to demand the highest salaries in 2019.

No longer is your role only expected to deliver perfectly on ‘admin’. Employers particularly want EAs and PAs with industry or function-specific knowledge, such as in HR, finance and legal, which they can use to add insight, proactivity and strategy into their day-to-day roles.

2. Have a dedicated approach to your continuous professional development

However, relying solely on experience in a niche industry or function will not necessarily fast-track your progression. Instead, you should also take your professional development into your own hands. Look to undertake qualifications or courses, actively seek to broaden your commercial understanding and integrate meaningful, value-add activities into your daily tasks.

As Adam Fidler, Principal of Adam Fidler Academy, the UK’s leading provider of training and education for executive and personal assistants, says: “[PAs and EAs] themselves need to demonstrate learning agility and a readiness to relook at their job to upskill.

“Now is the time for PAs and EAs to prepare themselves for the future by broadening their scope and offering the traits of sound management, growth mindset and strategic thinking – allowing them to build a true alliance with their executives and the teams they support.”

3. Keep ahead of technology changes

Finally, being adept at technology has always been key to any good PA’s role. But you should also aim to research, get up-to-date, and stay up-to-date with the many apps, cloud services and virtual reality tools which can enhance your own productivity and further streamline organisational processes for your manager or department.

That said, despite changing technology, professionals with strong communication and interpersonal skills will always be valued.

Are you satisfied with your salary?

It is important to be aware of your ‘market rate’ – how much you could be earning in line with national and regional averages for your seniority and skillsets. If you are unsure about your current pay and think you could be earning more in your role, try our new salary checker tool now.

If you’re looking for a higher salary for the year ahead, the right job with the right salary could be just around the corner.

About this author

Roddy joined Hays in 1999 as a Recruitment Consultant. In 2012 he took over operational responsibility for Hays in Scotland, managing dedicated teams providing expert temporary and permanent recruitment services for a wide range of sectors and professions. From 2017, he has been the lead for Hays Personal & Executive Assistants business across the UK, providing strategic leadership to over 200 consultants.

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