Happy Administrative Professionals Day: Your Pay Just Jumped 2%

Just in time for Administrative Professionals Day, CompData says salaries for executive assistants, admins, and other office support staff are inching up.

After years of stagnant pay, CompData’s BenchmarkPro survey found wages up on the order of 2 percent. Executive assistants, among the highest paid, now average $51,600 per year, up from $50,200 in 2010. Executive secretaries saw a 2.4 percent rise: $45,000 in 2010 to $46,100 in 2011. Receptionists increased 2.6 percent between 2010 and 2011, to $27,900.

“Although salaries for many administrative professionals increased in 2011, the rate of increase for most of these jobs was less than the 2011 average rate of inflation reported in the Consumer Price Index of 3.2 percent,” said Amy Kaminski, director of marketing for Compdata Surveys, a pay and benefits survey data provider.

Admin jobs getting harder to fill

That may be a reason why office support positions are becoming increasingly harder to fill. Wanted Technologies says jobs for receptionists and executive assistants made the top 50 most-advertised jobs list last month.

You take that into consideration tomorrow, when deciding how to say thank you to your office admins. In case you missed it, April 25 is Administrative Professionals Day in the U.S.,  Canada, and elsewhere.

With 13 million office support staff at work in the U.S. alone, it has become a big day for florists and restaurants, who benefit from the feting by bosses and office workers. As hard as it may be for anyone caught in one of those endless automated phone trees to believe, there are more office workers now than at any time in the past. The International Association of Administrative Professionals says there are  more than 4.1 million secretaries and administrative assistants, and 8.9 million people in administrative support roles.

What began 60 years ago as a way of recognizing secretaries and building interest in the job has morphed into an appreciation of the professionalization of the industry.

Formerly National Secretaries Day

Over the six decades the nature of the job has changed dramatically, as has the name of the observance. When it launched in 1952, it was National Secretaries Day. In 1981, the named was changed to Administrative Professionals Day. Once almost exclusively a woman’s job, today it is not at all uncommon to find men in admin positions. Few had any college 60 years ago. Now the typical admin has at least an associate’s degree.

And where once clerical tasks were the primary part of the job, now support staffs produce reports and spreadsheets full of data, create presentations, participate in project teams, handle most office purchases, and make decisions in the absence of managers.

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What the modern event has in common with the past is the hope that by recognizing the importance and value of office support staff, it will kindle interest in the job and help recruit new workers. In large part that was behind the plan that Mary Barrett, president of the National Secretaries Association, now called the International Association of Administrative Professionals, and C. King Woodbridge, president of Dictaphone Corporation, came up with in 1952. Together with the help of PR exec Harry Klemfuss they  established the first National Secretaries Week.

A day to say thank you

If you doubt the value of the work, you figure out how to unjam the copier, soothe an upset client, or recover the nearly completed project that just disappeared from your computer.

That’s why at offices all across the country, administrative professionals will be showered with cards, flowers, and balloon bouquets. Bosses will lunch with their admins. And office workers will show their appreciation with lunch room potlucks or pizzas.

OfficeTeam, Robert Half’s administrative staffing group, offers a tip sheet for other ways of recognizing office support workers. (And a series of videos about the wrong way to celebrate the day.)

However your workplace recognizes the support staff, make sure that at the very least, you go out of your way to say a personal “Thank you.”

John Zappe is the editor of TLNT.com and a contributing editor of ERE.net. John was a newspaper reporter and editor until his geek gene lead him to launch his first website in 1994. He developed and managed online newspaper employment sites and sold advertising services to recruiters and employers. Before joining ERE Media in 2006, John was a senior consultant and analyst with Advanced Interactive Media and previously was Vice President of Digital Media for the Los Angeles Newspaper Group.

Besides writing for ERE, John consults with staffing firms and employment agencies, providing content and managing their social media programs. He also works with organizations and businesses to assist with audience development and marketing. In his spare time  he can be found hiking in the California mountains or competing in canine agility and obedience competitions.

You can contact him here.


1 Comment on “Happy Administrative Professionals Day: Your Pay Just Jumped 2%

  1. The market for people looking for administrative support roles has changed tremendously, even over the 14 years I’ve been in the profession. I have an Associates Degree, and until the recent economic downturn, never had a problem finding a position quickly when I needed to move.

    Now, I’m competing against new grads with Bachelors Degrees, or people with other experience who turned to administrative support work when their own field turned a bit sour. The competition is quite stiff, and although I’m currently employed, I’ve been looking actively since January of this year with no real, substantive leads.

    Unfortunately sometimes the administrative team is cut first when things get tough, and it’s the last thing brought back because so many seem to think they don’t need that kind of assistance. A great assistant can really make all the difference to an office or department, and I’m hopeful things like APW and APD bring that contribution to the forefront.

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