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Want to be a Personal Assistant? Here’s what you need to know about the job

With an abundance of secretarial roles out there that support a range of people within organisations, it’s hard to know which role is responsible for which duties. One of the most easily identifiable types of secretarial roles is one of a personal assistant (PA) or personal secretary.


These are the “executive secretaries” that are in charge of arranging the daily working lives of management or directorial staff. Instead of providing secretarial services to a range of people, the PA works one-on-one with their manager or director to help them perform better in their role.


In essence, a PA is the one that ensures a manager’s schedule runs smoothly. To get the job done, she has extensive knowledge about her organisation and fully understands its business objectives.


Are you fit for a personal assistant role?

If you’re thinking of becoming a personal assistant, you really need to be cut out for the job. You’re meticulous, well-organised, confident and willing to work long hours and travel at the drop of a hat.


As a PA, you’ll follow the life of the executive you’re working for, following them even if their job takes them on a long flight to the Far East. You’ll be an indispensable asset to your employer, and you’ll have to organise all their needs, even when they haven’t asked for it yet.


Qualifications you need to become a personal assistant

Obviously, you need basic secretarial skills like minute taking. You can obtain these basic skills by on-job training and taking a few short courses. Relevant qualifications like Level 3 Private Secretary’s Diploma and Level 4 Executive Secretary’s Diploma come into play here. You can even get your foot in the door if you have a business administration degree in the bag.


Job opportunities for the PA

Personal assistants can be found everywhere in large, medium and small organisations across all sectors, including international companies, and large government bodies like the SABC. PA’s are in high demand by almost any medium to large business to help manage and keep directors on track and functioning effectively.


It goes without saying that some industries pay far more than others. If you happen to score a job working for a tycoon or a director of a multi-national company that relies on your skills, you’ll be bagging a salary that can be anything that company is willing to pay.


The typical starting salary for a PA can be around R132,000 per year, easily rising to the R200,000 per annum mark. Salaries in this sector depend purely on the size and nature of the company you’re working for as well as its location. In a top financial institution could easily earn R480,000 per year with the right kind of experience behind you. Additional benefits could include a pension scheme, medical aid, gym membership and subsidised services.