An understanding of a secretary's duties and responsibilities can be helpful for those seeking work as office professionals. Despite emerging new technologies, the primary responsibilities for secretaries remain focused around coordination and performance of administrative activities. While the median annual salary for secretaries in 2008 was $29,050, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, executive secretaries’ annual salaries were notably higher at $40,030. Projections show employment growth will increase through 2018.
A large part of a secretary’s role is coordinating communications for an office. This occurs via a variety of sources, including telephone, mail, Internet and email. Secretaries create spreadsheets, draft and edit correspondence and reports, and prepare presentations using desktop publishing software. These responsibilities may include such specific duties as creating a newsletter for staff or clients, writing letters, routing phone calls to appropriate parties, sending faxes and emails, and opening and distributing mail within an office.
Secretaries often maintain schedules for high-level staff. They use computer programs to schedule appointments on an executive’s calendar and make sure that executives are aware of any changes to a given day’s schedule. In addition, secretaries make business and personal travel arrangements for an organization's senior staff. This may include booking flights, reserving hotel rooms and securing rental vehicles. For business travel, a secretary may need to prepare an itinerary detailing an executive’s agenda for the duration of a business trip or conference.
Supply and Equipment Maintenance
Many secretaries track the supplies used in the office and reorder them from vendors on a regular basis. They may also be responsible for operating and basic maintenance of a variety of office equipment, including fax machines, copiers and scanners. Secretaries are increasingly responsible for troubleshooting problems that might occur with the equipment. They make service calls to vendors if repairs or replacement equipment are needed.
2016 Salary Information for Secretaries and Administrative Assistants
Secretaries and administrative assistants earned a median annual salary of $38,730 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, secretaries and administrative assistants earned a 25th percentile salary of $30,500, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $48,680, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 3,990,400 people were employed in the U.S. as secretaries and administrative assistants.