An executive support worker, often referred to as an executive assistant or executive secretary, performs office duties for a company’s top official. Executive support workers hold important positions, as they often offer a direct line of communication between their company’s president or chief executive officer (CEO) and other workers, as well as clients and the general public.
Executive support workers are employed in a variety of industries, handling things such as phone calls, emails and face-to-face meetings involving the top executive. They type letters written by their superiors, fax documents, file invoices, schedule appointments and might even be responsible for bookkeeping and payroll duties. Executive support workers also often remind their superiors of the day’s agenda, along with forwarding messages and taking minutes at executive get-togethers.
Executive support workers need to be highly organized and possess excellent verbal and written communication skills. They handle duties that can often change on daily basis, so they must also be prepared to multi-task. More than anything, they need to be capable listeners, ably following the instructions of the company’s highest-ranking official. Executive support workers should be professional, motivated and energetic with a strong work ethic and a positive attitude. Most also need to be accomplished typists who own strong math and grammatical skills.
While executive support workers hold important positions, they can often be hired with little more than a high school diploma and related experience. That may consist of time spent working as a lower-level secretary or administrative assistant, perhaps even in another industry. Occasionally, executive support workers will be required to own an associate degree, or certificate, in studies related to an office setting--such as typing, English, math and general business.
Nearly 1.6 million employees held jobs as executive support workers in May 2008, and that number is expected to increase significantly through 2018, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In fact, jobs for executive assistants are projected to increase by 11 percent during the 2008 to 2018 decade, the BLS reported. In other words, most top officials will always need someone to assist them perform basic office duties for which they themselves have little time.
Executive support workers can make a nice living, assuming they have the right amount of experience and land in the right industry. According to PayScale.com, executive assistants earned anywhere from more than $36,000 to more than $54,000 per year in June 2010.