Corporate Support Roles – All about the Executive Assistant

An Executive Assistant role offers challenges and career opportunities while being the highest-paid corporate support position. Read our Q&A with Archie Ravalia to find out more:

What is an Executive Assistant position? 

An Executive Assistant or EA usually supports a C-Suite Executive in a 1:1 support role. Their function is to help the Executive with both business and personal work. In some cases, the EA may have some autonomous duties acting on behalf of the Executive. Companies may promote an existing PA (Personal Assistant) to an Executive Assistant position and, on some occasions, they may also have an assistant.

What is involved in an Executive Assistant role? 

Great business acumen. Someone who can see the 360° picture of an entire business as well as acting as a gatekeeper for the CEO. Quite often being fluent in a language is useful, with many of our Executive Assistant roles requiring fluency in a second language.

Over half of EAs we’ve recruited have held a similar Personal Assistant or Executive Assistant role and have had over ten years related experience.

A good Executive Assistant should be loyal, discreet and diplomatic as they are often privy to confidential information and contacts. Hours can fluctuate and may include weekend work or early/late starts. In some instances, you may be on 24-hour call, especially if your boss is a Global Executive, CEO or high-profile individual. You may also be required to travel at short notice, in line with CEOs needs. In these circumstances, you should be flexible and able to juggle priorities as well as be extremely organised.

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What is the difference between an Executive Assistant and a Personal Assistant role? 

EAs play a pivotal role and generally have 5-7 years of corporate support experience. Whereas PAs can support a team or director level and typically have 3-5 years of corporate support experience, although this varies within different businesses and clients. Sometimes though, there is no difference at all!

What is an Executive Assistant salary in London?

Executive Assistant salaries range with Banking, Finance, Private EAs and Luxury brands being the highest-paid and can be anything from £38,000-£70,000.

Advertising, Media, Creative, Design and Technology EAs typically earn mid to late 30ks. Whereas, those in the Charity, HR and Education sectors can make between £28,000-£30,000 a year. Often, Executive Assistant salaries are increased by performance bonus payments; in some sectors, these can be as much as 50% of the base salary.

Do I need a degree to be an Executive Assistant?

Nearly half of all EAs we work with have an undergraduate degree.

Diplomas from Secretarial colleges are an added benefit. However, this is not essential, and it’s your experience that matters.

What skills do I need to be an Executive Assistant? 

Experience of handling complex diaries, travel itineraries, expense management, mentoring junior team members, event management, being steps ahead of your boss as well as working with board meeting presentation material. The ability and willingness to support more than one boss, with whom you might only have a virtual working relationship.

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What is a typical career path to becoming an Executive Assistant? 

Start as a team assistant then progress to a PA, the next step would then be an Executive Assistant position.

Which sectors pay the highest Executive Assistant salaries? 

Location seems to play a part in the highest-paid Executive Assistant roles. Canary Wharf, The City and Mayfair and St James remunerate generously, reflecting where many Financial Institutions and Head Quarters are based. However, there is some upward shift in salaries in Farringdon, Old Street, Shoreditch, Dalston, Kings Cross and Islington. A reflection on Creative and Digital brands moving into these areas and the regeneration of industrial locations.

What other specialist roles does Boyce cover?

B2B and Corporate support roles can be an excellent way of learning about an industry and allow you to build skills and progress into a niche or specialist market or role.

At Boyce, we offer specialised career roles in the following sectors. Click to see our latest jobs:

• PR, Marketing, Communication (Link)
• Creative Services and Post Production (Link)
• Insight and Research (Link)
• Broadcast and Media (Link)
• Multilingual jobs (Link)