The outlook is bright for administrative professionals

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By The Staff

What profession should be considered when starting or changing a career? Becoming an administrative professional is a solid choice for the future, according to the latest figures from the U.S. Dept. of Labor.

More than 4.2 million people were employed as administrative assistants and secretaries in 2006, with another 362,000 jobs expected to be added by 2016, an 8.5 percent increase over the 10-year period.

Growth is projected in all industries, but especially in health care, professional services and scientific and technical services, according to the Labor Department. The largest growth will take place among the more skilled levels of administrative professionals.

According to the International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP), the office professional’s role in the workplace continues to expand to include more complex duties and responsibilities, one reason why job outlook is bright.

Salary forecasts

The 2008 Salary Guide from OfficeTeam reports that salaries for administrative professionals are expected to increase an average of 3.2 percent in 2008.

Salary ranges include:

n $40,500 to $56,700 for senior executive assistants (up 3.7 percent)

n $27,250 to $37,500 for human resources assistants (up 5.3 percent)

n $23,750 to $29,000 for starting, entry-level administrative assistants (up 2.4 percent)

Industry background and technical expertise, along with strong interpersonal skills, are most in demand, according to OfficeTeam. Administrative professionals should also show initiative and commitment to ongoing education.

Employers are willing to offer an average of 7 percent more to candidates with professional certifications such as the Certified Administrative Professionalf and Certified Professional Secretary, designations from IAAP, reports OfficeTeam.

Evolving role of admins

Administrative professionals and secretaries are the information center of the office. Over the last decade their job responsibilities have increased to include many of the duties traditionally done by mid-level managers, making them essential in the workplace.

“As the role of admins expands, so does their value to organizations,” said Dr. Susan Fenner, education and professional development manager for IAAP. “Corporations will be looking for and filling jobs with the ‘new admins’ who can apply many skills, such as coordinating projects, leading on-site and virtual work teams, becoming the communications hub for the office with mastery in the written, spoken and e-arenas and the primary users of technology.”

About IAAP

IAAP is the world’s leading association for administrative professionals, with 600 chapters and more than 40,000 members and affiliates worldwide. IAAP sponsors Administrative Professionals Week April 20-26, 2008, and Administrative Professionals Day is today, April 23. For details, visit the Web site, www.orgsites.com/sc/iaap-rock-hill, the Rock Hill Area chapter, which covers Lancaster, Chester and York counties.

Sara Hancock is a Lancaster County resident and a member of the International Association of Administrative Professionals.