Executive Assistant vs Personal Assistant
Personal assistant, also called secretary by some (not secretary of state) is a skilled person who makes life easier for their bosses by organizing their time table, scheduling their appointments, managing their files, and booking or cancelling their appointments to let their bosses work stress free and at their productive best. There is another term called executive assistant that is fancier and more commonly used today. Many people confuse between these two titles and cannot differentiate between an executive assistant and a personal assistant. This article attempts to highlight the differences to enable a person choose one of the two jobs as his or her career option.
Though there is some overlapping between the two job profiles, executive assistant (EA) are much more professional and possess managerial and operational skills that are far ahead of personal assistants. Executive assistants normally work for high level executives such as MD or CEO. Executive assistants are expected to have high problem solving skills and decision-making skills. They are hired to help the executive achieve his goals. Despite the suffix assistant, it is common to see EAs handling projects on their own and even having a personal assistant for them. In due course of time, executive assistants have become a very important part of the organization and powerful in the social hierarchy in the company. These assistants have no fixed duty hours, and seen at the office at odd hours.
An EA has the ability to run the show in the absence of the boss for some time. Though mainly she has to organize the professional (and often his personal) life of her boss, she also has to look after business affairs and needs, to have high levels of IT literacy. She also requires having top class problem solving and trouble shooting skills. You may be surprised to know that some of the top level EA’s in the industry today are MBA degree holders. As a rule of thumb, these assistants normally have a BBA degree.
Personal assistants are more of organizers; managing timetable of the boss and looking after the files on his table. They also schedule his appointments in such a manner that it is smooth sailing for the executive all day long, and he is not seen wasting his precious time looking for files or managing his appointments. Popular people, besides executives, need the service of personal assistants to be able to work in a stress free manner while their personal assistant handles all queries and questions from the press and fans. This includes screening of incoming calls, handling press releases, talking to media, handling fans, managing travel arrangements and so on.
What is the difference between Executive Assistant and Personal Assistant?
• Executive Assistant (EA) is a modern version of a personal assistant.
• EA is required for top-level executives such as CEOs and COOs, whereas even celebrities, authors, sportspersons can have personal assistants.
• EA needs having a BBA degree and some even have an MBA while personal assistants do not require such high professional degrees.
• EAs do not have a 9-5 job and can be seen working till late while personal assistants have a fixed office duty.
• EA’s have much better IT skills and problem solving skills than personal assistants.
It gauls me to read this article in 2014 when the boss is referred to male and the PA/EA is referred to as female.
Orderama Web says
Do you have any statistical evidence to the contrary? And what would you suggest instead? She/she or he/he – just as offensive. She/he or he/she – which gender first? They – grammatically incorrect. It – plain rude. Or maybe use ‘the PA’ and ‘the boss’ throughout – a verbose and totally unnecessary solution to something that is being blown out of proportion by overly-sensitive asses.
Aerogaby In Dublin says
Good post, but why is it assumed that the assistant is a she, and the boss a he?
Orderama Web says
Because statistically that is the case and maybe it was written by a woman from personal experience.