Fireside Chat: State of the Administrative Profession

November 18, 2023


group of professionals discussing graphs and charts
Read on to see what industry experts think about the trajectory of the administrative profession.

"The administrative profession is not experiencing an evolution, but a revolution."

-Lucy Brazier

At APC 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada, a group of panelists discussed current trends within the administrative profession, while offering timely and relevant advice on pressing issues. 

The panelists included Lucy Brazier, CEO of Marcham Publishing and specialist publisher of Executive Support Magazine; Elijah "Tony" Crawford, executive coordinator in the Office of the Chancellor at Vanderbilt University and ASAP Advisory Board Member; and Sunny Nunan, founder and CEO of the Admin Awards,

Below is a condensed form of their conversation, led and facilitated by Lynn Walder, founder and owner of Executive Management Partners.

Rachel Kopczyk (emcee) introducing Lucy Brazier, Tony Crawford, Sunny Nunan, and Lynn Walder on stage at APC 2023
Emcee Rachel Kopczyk (L) introducing Lucy Brazier, Tony Crawford, Sunny Nunan, and Lynn Walder on stage at APC 2023.

What Are the Biggest Trends in the Administrative Profession?

According to Lucy Brazier, the most visable trend at the moment is the desire for admins to be seen and recognized as middle management rather than low-level assistants.

Sunny Nunan agreed, saying, "Admins won’t stay in environments where they won’t be appreciated, compensated fairly, or have their professional development not taken seriously. Admins are learning that they deserve respect."

For Tony, the biggest trend in the profession is currently work-life balance. Despite "doing the job for three people," admins are "learning how to set more boundaries that are within their scope of work... and are now more likely to have tough conversations with their superiors than before."

What Do You Think About the State of AI?

When asked about the future of AI, each of the panelists agreed that too much fear surrounds the technology, with Sunny reminding attendees that artificial intelligence has been around since the 1970s. 

"AI will not take your job, it's just a tool," said Lucy. Similarly, Tony believes "it's something we can use in our personal and professional lives" and can be utilized by admins to help with their efficiency. By using AI programs, administrative professionals can now save hours of their time on tasks that would otherwise distract them from more pressing matters.

What Is Trending Around Administrative Development and Titling? 

Lucy, Tony, and Sunny each agreed that only having two, primary titles in the industry—administrative assistant and executive assistant—is far too limiting when it comes to defining administrative roles. 

Saying, "Admins should have more than two role titles they can fill throughout the span of their career," Sunny suggested admins should "notify their manager and ask for a different title to better reflect their position and job tasks" if they feel their not scope of work is not properly reflected through their current one.

Lucy also advised attendees to research the Global Skills Matrix, a framework that suggests viable career pathways and a variety of available titles in the administrative profession. When brought to one's HR team, the Matrix can help provide a more well-rounded structure for advancement. 

(L-R) Lucy Brazier, Tony Crawford, and Sunny Nunan
(L-R) Lucy Brazier, Tony Crawford, and Sunny Nunan

Can You Speak on Gender Disparity in the Field? 

Directed at Tony, Walder asked her final question: are we beginning to see a shift in how the public views the administrative profession as solely a "feminine" pursuit?

His response? "It's coming," said Crawford. "Men can enjoy serving too and shouldn't be afraid to show that."

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