All too often I encounter people on my PA and Executive PA training courses that are already working in the industry, but are not clear on what exactly is the difference between an Executive PA and a PA. This is an issue and its all the more confusing when companies blur the line between the different job positions by advertising an Executive PA role that is paying £22K and has nothing ‘Executive’. Finally, the role of an Executive Assistant is even more confused and this is not helped by differences in the definition across different countries. We will focus on United Kingdom definition and London.
PA and Executive PA Jobs
I am an experienced PA and Executive Assistant; I have also been delivering training courses for several years now. I have again and again had conversations with experienced Executive Assistants who are being frustrated by companies, other Executive Assistants, Executive PAs and PAs not appreciating the difference in the roles. This article will seek to establish what each role relates to.
What is a PA? A PA is an Assistant that provides more functionary and Administrative support. This could be delivered to a team or a manager. Generally speaking the seniority of the job will be below that of the Executive PA or Executive Assistant. There will be less pressure on the development of soft skills, which is fundamental in the other roles. This is because there will be less exposure to senior managers and Executives. It may also be less demanding in your technical skills, so you can still have some PA skills development points at this stage. The salary range in London can vary from £20-25K through to £35K.
Executive PA Careers
Executive PA Careers will need you to essentially provide Administrative support at an Executive Level. This will mean greater assertiveness, the need to use a mix of soft skills effectively. This is quite a significant difference as being able to comfortably adapt to a professional, executive level can be very testing. Furthermore, your technical skills will need to be top notch, so that any task that arises is not a problem. Pay range her can rise to around £45K, but many earn less.
Executive Assistant Careers
An Executive Assistant goes to a different level. Here you are providing Business Support more than just Administrative Support. This is where you can handle a good deal of your manager’s tasks and issues and execute them yourself. This will mean making decision on spending, business changes, processes, Project Management and much more. At this level you are a partner to your manager and an integral part of the Executive Management of the company. An Executive Assistant can earn up to £65K, but many earn less.
Finally, a new role is the Management Assistant and the Business Assistant. I have seen roles in this category for £75 and £85K, but they are principally business support with some elements of Administration. This is the pinnacle of the profession and there are only a few jobs emerging in this category. Financial Services and Banks tend to dominate these markets and they will be the organisations that offer the higher ranges of pay, in general, but there are exceptions.
Many people who read this may think that they are doing an Executive PA role but in a PA title, or another similar issue. If this is the case, you should look to get your job title corrected.
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