According to the news last week, Personal Assistants (PAs) are at risk of losing their jobs because of the move to working more virtually.
Deloitte announced that 500 PAs are at risk of redundancy after they announced that 20,000 of their employees can choose to work either at the office, at home or a mix of both.
The news led to the story that PAs will be replaced by Virtual Assistants (VA) which is already a well-established alternatively which effectively provides support to senior executives remotely.
The flip side to the story is that PAs and VAs will always be needed by senior executives as they provide much more than just secretarial support such as diary management.
‘EAs & PAs ease the pressure, take on multiple tasks, become the software and app expert, implement time saving structures and can make their executive 40 per cent -50 per cent more efficient.’
There’s no doubt about the skillset of PAs and VAs being useful within the business landscape and are often unestimated.
At PMO Learning we often see PAs enrolling on courses such as Setting Up a PMO and more recently the Essentials for PMO Administrators (before that the PPSO Essentials) because of the simple fact that PAs do get involved in project management in their support activities for the senior executives they work for.
Adding PMO Administration to the Skillset
Typically PAs are working very closely with the people they support:
‘Most EAs are the right hand person for the board level exec they support. They’re expert problem solvers who can organise multiple diaries, across a range of time zones without any fuss at all. They sit at board meetings with high level execs and get to understand how to run a big business and what goes into strategic decisions.’
What we’ve found at PMO Learning is that there are many organisations out there that run projects without the formalities you are likely to see in larger businesses or those with many projects and with many years of maturity in delivering them. It’s these organisations that typically use their existing administrative and secretarial support personnel to help support these projects or initiatives which happen within the business, mainly due to their boss being the person most likely to be driving these initiatives.
PAs make great project administrators. There’s no doubt that there is a long list of transferable skills that are very useful in a project environment just as much as they are at the board level.
It’s also a very small step to start getting the basics of good project administration skills added to the PA’s bow.
Project Administration Skills
For a PA to pick up the skills necessary for project administration it starts with understanding the fundamentals of project management and what’s expected in the role. This is exactly what the Essentials for PMO Administrators course is all about.
Top skill or competence areas include:
- Providing reports – so the senior executive knows what’s happening with the project or initiative.
- Gathering information on the financial side such as expenditure and help with purchasing.
- Managing the project meetings – providing the minutes and the action tracking
- Keeping registers up to date and liaising with team members to get the updates required.
There is much more detail about what a Project Administrator does right here.
If Personal Assistants are feeling under threat right now, maybe it’s time to add a few extra skills which help support senior executives in their roles as change agents.
This is not about Personal Assistants becoming Project Administrators – although that is certainly a career path worth thinking about – it’s about evolving the role to keep pace with ever-changing business and the needs of the senior executives they support.
You can also find out more about the Essentials for PMO Administrators certification in our webinar below!
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