An operations support associate is someone who handles clerical duties for a company’s top executive. Operations support associates work in a wide range of industries and handle an array of tasks. They answer phones, forward messages, fax documents, respond to emails and greet customers and clients. These associates typically report solely to the person in charge of the company.
Operations support associates provide important links between top executives and their clients. They type letters written by their superiors and occasionally handle light bookkeeping duties. At times, they schedule appointments or return calls on behalf of the top executive. Operations support associates also might do everything from taking minutes at meetings to reminding their bosses of the day’s agenda.
Operation support associates typically need to be skilled typists and have a knowledge of computers and software needed for the job--such as those related to finances or scheduling. They should be professional, organized, courteous, adaptable and able to juggle many office tasks at the same time. They also need to be good listeners, following the instructions given by top executives. On top of those things, operation support associates likely need to possess basic math skills to help with collections or payroll.
Operations support associates come from a variety of backgrounds and education levels. Most are able to learn on the job, but in order to become the assistant for a top executive, many need to have at least some experience as a secretary or receptionist in a related industry. Occasionally, an operations support associate will need to have obtained an associate or even bachelor’s degree, with an emphasis on courses in administration, keyboarding, business, math and English.
Jobs for operations support associates are largely at the mercy of their industry. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs for executive secretaries and administrative assistants are expected to increase by 13 percent during the 2008 to 2018 decade, which is about as fast as the average growth rate for all occupations. Nearly 1.6 million workers were employed as executive secretaries in May 2008, the BLS reported.
Wages for operations support associates differ by their industry, experience and overall responsibilities. According to PayScale.com, executive secretaries and administrative assistants earned anywhere from $29,000 to more than $45,000 per year in April 2010. Also, PayScale reported that 97 percent of executive secretaries were female.