What the New Role of the Administrative Professional Means to You


Bob Dylan told us, “The times they are a-changin.” Just as vinyl albums made way for cassettes, then CDs and now MP3s, the role of the administrative professional is constantly evolving, too. Today’s admins are increasingly joining the ranks of middle management.

The American Society of Administrative Professionals (ASAP) has released a report that finds significant changes in the roles of admins. Meet the New Middle Manager: Today's Administrative Professional focuses on the factors responsible for these changes and the training admins need — but don't always receive — to stay on top of their game. Let’s take a look at the revolution occurring in the administrative realm.

Admins are being given more responsibility.

More and more admins are taking their leadership skills to new heights. Today’s administrative professional may be required to work as part of a team and also hold a supervisory position. In addition to the responsibility of leadership, these professionals are often given authoritative powers. This includes financial responsibility, such as the approval and authorization of office purchases. Many admins report they’ve found themselves donning a project management cap in the workplace, as they are called upon to spearhead projects.

Three factors are driving the change.

The ASAP report notes that three factors are responsible for this dynamism in the admin's role:

1. The recent recession: In the aftermath of the recession, organizations have found themselves relying on their administrative teams to fill in holes left by staff shortages from layoffs or hiring freezes, especially in the managerial ranks.

2. Evolving technology: Administrative staff are often the first line of tech defense in the office, as 85 percent in the report spend the vast majority of their workday using Microsoft Office applications. Additionally, in the age of social media, a quick response is a must. Many organizations rely on administrative staff, with or without relevant training, to monitor social media forums and report potential customer issues.

3. Economic rebound: Though the economy is recovering, many employers are finding themselves short of managerial staff. This has led to a reliance on adaptable and multi-skilled admins who can step out of their traditional job descriptions in order to help organizations grow along with the economy.

It’s time to hone your skills. 

While many admins have valuable industry knowledge, they report feeling a bit shaky on the technological front. In fact, only 13 percent said they were masters of Microsoft Office, which is a concern when they’re relied on for tech support. Unfortunately, many employers leave the responsibility of skills development up to admins.

The good news is that professional organizations exist to help admins hone all abilities through professional development programs, whether technical, technological or leadership-based. To further enhance their skills across the board, admins might want to join groups like the ASAP or attend the Administrative Professionals Conference (APC).

The shifting role of admins opens up unprecedented opportunities for ambitious employees to put their leadership skills, training and knowledge to the test. Good luck!

Are you an admin whose role has undergone significant change in the past few years? Share your experience in the comments below.

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