An executive associate is someone who provides clerical work for the head of a company, such as the CEO or president. Executive associates type reports, forward phone calls, take messages, keep track of important documents and respond to emails. They are often considered an important link between the company’s executive and clients, or even other employees.
Executive associates perform a wide array of tasks, all to make the executive's job easier. Typically, the only person to whom the associate reports is the executive. Associates perform a wide array of tasks and work in a wide range of industries. They do everything from faxing paperwork to opening mail and typing letters written by their supervisors. Sometimes, they might even pick up lunch. Some might update the company website or perform light bookkeeping. Basically, executive associates need to be versatile employees capable of handling a variety of office tasks.
Executive associates should be expert typists and capable of following instructions from superiors. They should be motivated, professional, courteous and pay close attention to detail. They also need to possess strong verbal communication skills, since they often spend much of their day on the phone, answering calls and relaying important information to the company’s top executive. On top of those things, executive associates may need decent computer and math skills.
Most executive associates have experience working in another type of office setting before being hired to assist a company’s top decision-maker. That might include work as a secretary or a receptionist in another industry, or as an administrative associate within one's own industry. Education-wise, executive associates need to possess at least a high school diploma. Many need an associate’s degree or certificate from a secretary-based vocational school as well.
Jobs for executive associates are at the mercy of their industries, and often, how long their supervisor stays employed. That said, more than 1.5 million workers were employed as executive secretaries in 2008, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. That number should increase by about 11 percent through 2018, the BLS reports.
Executive secretaries earned anywhere from $29,000 to more than $42,000 per year in 2010. Those in the manufacturing and health care industries were the highest earners. Most executive secretaries are still female.