“What is an Executive PA?” is a question often asked by people considering this career. How is the job different to a PA? Why do Executive PAs earn more than PAs?

An Executive PA will generally work directly for an Executive. They will provide a mixture of administrative and business support to their Executive manager. PAs do not necessarily work with an Executive. Therefore, Executive PAs need to have a sophisticated mix of skills to deal with the pressure of the Executive level environment. Typical skills of an Executive PA include:

  • Ability to work on own initiative
  • Decision Making
  • Prioritisation
  • Client Care Skills
  • Proactivity
  • Travel Management
  • Diary Management
  • Minute Taking
  • Dealing with Expenses and Invoices
  • Budget control
  • Record keeping
  • High quality written business communication
  • Team working
  • Flexibility
  • Excellent organisational skills

Given that Executive PAs have a close working relationship with their Executive manager, it is ideal that Executive PAs can work effectively as partners with their Executive.  Many managers refer to Executive PAs as the cornerstone of the team/organisation, because of the vital support they provide.

Executive PA Skills

A fundamental aspect of being a good Executive PA is anticipating issues and proactively dealing with them in advance. This can be a complicated aspect of the role, it often involves multi-taking and prioritising workloads to meet and overcome obstacles. Some technical skills are vital to be able to deliver the Executive PA deliverables efficiently:

  • Advanced Microsoft Office Skills
    • PowerPoint – presentation and visuals
    • Outlook – diary and email management
    • Excel – budgets, finance, expenses etc
    • Word – business letters and formal communication
    • Office 365
    • SharePoint
    • Other packages like Teams, Google Office, Zoom etc.
  • Arranging meetings, minute taking and ensuring meetings run smoothly
  • Organising Events at work

Executive PAExecutive PA Career Path

Executive PA and Executive Assistant roles are similar, but on average Executive Assistants roles are a little more senior. This reflects in the fact that average salaries in London are £5,000 higher for Executive Assistants. The main difference between Executive Assistants and Executive PAs is that Executive Assistants tend to have more decision making power, more leadership over their role and greater focus on business support in favour of administrative support. Companies often expect Executive Assistants to be able to work with less direction from management and take more responsibility. Executive Assistant jobs are the next logical step for most Executive PAs.

We have looked at Executive PA salaries across the UK and Ireland. Average salaries in London are £35,000 per year, but we found higher salaries around £55,000 per year. In other cities, we saw the following salaries:


City Average Salary Higher End Salary
London £35,000 £55,000
Manchester £34,000 £56,000
Birmingham £28,000 £49,000
Dublin €45,000 €45,000

All data was updated late in April 2021 from Glassdoor salary survey information.

For those of you in the UK, you will notice that the Executive Assistant salaries are a little higher. The Executive Assistant page also has a list of European, Middle Eastern and Asian salaries for Executive Assistants. There are not enough advertised Executive PA roles outside of the UK and Ireland, to make a meaningful survey. Please CLICK HERE to see details of the Executive Assistant Salary Survey.

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