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Top of the PA Crop


Are you trustful, a good organiser, have a good head for figures, have people skills, have a smile for everyone and are a master of technology skills?

While it may sound like an advert for the next Bond, the aforementioned are the six essential attributes that employers seek out when choosing their right hand man or woman -- their secretary.

This is according to findings from recruitment consultancy Office Angels, which asked 1,500 employers in the UK to rank the skills they valued most highly in a personal assistant (PA) or secretary.

Paul Jacobs, managing director of Office Angels, explains: "Exceptional secretaries and PAs are invaluable to organisations and in today's office climate it's imperative they're recognised for their work. More than ever, support staff are working longer, more intense hours while taking on work with a phenomenal level of responsibility."


Some 93pc of managers nominated trust as the single most important trait in their assistants. 76pc confirmed their PA has access to financial details such as salary levels or human resources (HR) plans, including staff promotions and pay rises, underlining the need for trust between boss and secretary.

Ability to organise:

This trait was nominated by 88pc of managers. Today's PA must be a multi-tasking maestro to meet company demands, with 53pc of employers agreeing they rely upon their secretary more than IT, HR or finance colleagues.

Having a head for figures:

From calculating company-wide salary spreadsheets to managing the petty cash, 76pc of bosses nominated financial acumen as an essential trait in a PA.

People skills:

Identified as a valued characteristic by 66pc of managers, having great people skills is a reflection of a role that requires the ability to confidently deal with every level of staff across an organisation, as well as often managing 'front of house', clients or customers.

Working with a smile:

64pc nominated a good sense of humour as an essential element of their secretary's make-up, relieving stress and making colleagues' lives that little bit easier in a hectic working environment.

Technology skills:

An ability to master modern technology was nominated by 52pc of those questioned as a crucial skill -- 43pc of bosses also acknowledged their own technological skills were far from cutting edge.