"The administrative profession is not experiencing an evolution, but a revolution."
At APC 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada, a group of panelists, including 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, discussed current trends within the industry while also offering timely and relevant advice to pressing issues. Below is a condensed form of their conversation, led and facilitated by Lynn Walder, Founder and Owner of Executive Management Partners.
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 industry is currently work-life balance. Despite "doing the job for 3 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."
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 programs like Clara or Tableau, AAs and EAs can now save hours of their time on tasks that would otherwise distract them from more pressing matters.
Lucy, Tony, and Sunny each agreed that only having two, primary titles in the industry—Administrative Assistant or 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.
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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