Posted by Ray Weikal on Friday, January 3, 2014 - 00:00
In my last post, I talked about how today's administrative professionals are tech-savvy managers, based on results found in the 2013 Benchmarking Survey from the International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP). In this second article, I'll cover tips for getting the administrative salary you deserve.
Administrative professionals are the heart of the office, the calm center of the storm of data, deadlines and demands that swirl around business every day. They’re vital for success. That’s why it’s so important that talented people entering the workforce see being an administrative professional as a legitimate and financially rewarding career choice. Administrative salaries need to reflect the value of today's support staff.
Administrative professionals and salaries
Challenging, fulfilling work isn’t enough to attract the best and brightest. The fact is that people will bypass this choice in favor of other professions if they think that administrative salaries aren't keeping up.
IAAP's 2013 Benchmarking Survey suggests that being an administrative professional can actually be a very good choice in financial terms. According to the research, the annual base administrative salary is $50,732. That’s a six percent increase over the 2009 average. A three percent annual increase during a recession is nothing to scorn.
Looking at administrative salaries over time is even more revealing. The average salary was $27,147 in 1992. When adjusted for inflation, that’s worth $45,073 in 2013 dollars. That means that pay has outpaced inflation by almost one percent over the previous two decades. One percent may seem small, but it will add up to big gains over the course of your career.
In addition, career longevity is rewarded for administrative professionals. Those with 26 or more years of experience average nearly $65,000 a year, a very respectable income. More than 10 percent of the survey respondents make more than $70,000. It’s relatively common for top-level executive assistants to earn six figures. Add to this the fact that administrative professionals report annual benefits worth $14,000 on average.
Having said that, your chances of getting a raise – or getting more than you might have otherwise – increase if you know how to ask for a raise the right way. It’s tempting to take your annual cost-of-living and merit raise and call it good. I would encourage you to reconsider that approach.
Managers and administrative salaries
Often, even managers and supervisors don’t fully appreciate the value you bring to the office as an administrative professional. It’s human nature to give more attention to flashy team members who make a more obvious impact. The job you do is just as important, but often done behind the scenes. And many administrative professionals are humble by nature. This is one time where it’s okay to brag. You just have to know how to do it gracefully.
I won’t pretend to offer a comprehensive course in asking for a raise here, but I will provide some basic rules agreed on by many experts:
1. Pick the right time – Take a year or two to prove your value, then ask for a raise during your annual performance review.
2. Do your homework – Be prepared to provide quantifiable data about why you deserve a raise. This means doing market research about what people are being paid who do the same type of work in your region.
3. Build relationships – For better or worse, your boss is a human being, which means that you have a better shot at getting that raise if you have a good working relationship. You don’t have to be buddies, but try to keep it positive.
4. Prepare a portfolio – Have some sort of file (or, better yet, a website) that showcases the excellent work you’ve done. Try to include testimonies about your work from stakeholders.
5. Anticipate pushback – Prepare a few creative solutions and responses to questions or concerns that might be raised by your boss.
Up-to-date administrative salary information
Being an administrative professional can be a very fulfilling career as you help meet the many demands of running an office. Understanding today's administrative salary trends and how you should go about asking for a raise, you can ensure that this career is also financially stable. OfficeTeam has additional information about salary trends in its most recent Salary Guide. Don’t let your excellent work go unrewarded.
This is the second in a series of blog posts on the IAAP 2013 Benchmarking Survey.