what is an executive assistant?

An executive assistant is a clerical professional who assists high-level employees within businesses. In this role, you work closely with the executives you serve and get to know their personal preferences. What sets executive assistants apart from secretaries or administrative assistants is the people they report to. Executive assistants work alongside CEOs, chairpersons and board members.

As an executive assistant, you revise an executive's speeches, receive phone calls and prepare publicity material. Your work enables your superiors to focus on the core requirements of their job rather than day-to-day management tasks.

Although you hold a subordinate role, you advise your executive on important issues. Your direct access to internal policies and memos gives you valuable insights. You're in a position to manage team leaders, guide board members and keep your executive updated with new data. This role is also personal, calling for an awareness of the executive's private life.

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average executive assistant salary

You earn an average salary of $90,000 per year as an executive assistant. In an entry-level role, your remuneration package starts at $80,000 annually. As you improve your skills and experience, your remuneration package increases gradually. For instance, experienced executive assistants receive a salary of $100,000 yearly.

what factors affect the salary of an executive assistant?

You have a high-level organisational role as an executive assistant, and your remuneration package depends on your extensive experience and skills. For example, an entry-level starter, your earnings are lower than an executive assistant with extensive experience. Aside from your experience, your qualifications also influence your earnings. For instance, you can negotiate a higher salary when you have additional certifications.

The company you work for and the industry also influence your earnings. Working as an executive assistant in technical companies like manufacturing, mining, and construction requires technical knowledge. Working for large companies with unlimited resources improves your remuneration prospects. Smaller companies have limited budgets and cannot afford to pay premium salaries. Working in metro areas and large cities also improves your remuneration prospects.

Want to know what you will earn as an executive assistant? Check out what you are worth with our salary checker.

executive assistant careers

types of executive assistants

Some of the types of executive assistants include:

  • c-suite executive assistant: you support the executive management by handling the smaller responsibilities of an executive. For instance, you attend meetings in place of executives and lead strategic planning operations. You ensure the company runs smoothly by working with department heads to prioritise company strategies.
  • personal assistants: as a personal assistant, you manage the tasks outside an executive’s professional life. The responsibilities range from personal errands to event planning and household organisation. Your job is to create a work-life balance for the executive.
smiling man in blue shirt
smiling man in blue shirt

working as an executive assistant

Working as an executive assistant is exciting if you have excellent organisational and administrative skills. Here are executive assistants' daily duties, schedules and work environments.


education and skills

While formal qualifications are not essential for becoming an executive assistant, you require the following qualifications to excel:

  • relevant VET qualifications: to become an executive assistant, find a relevant Vocational Education and Training (VET) qualification course. Examples include a Certificate III in business administration or a Certificate IV in business administration. While the VET courses equip you with the necessary skills, a degree in business administration gives you an added advantage for working in large corporations.
  • workplace experience: to become an executive assistant, you require administrative experience. You can start with entry-level administrative assistant duties to improve your skills and expertise.

executive assistant skills and competencies

Some of the qualities of an executive assistant include:

  • time management skills: as an executive assistant, time management and organisation skills are valuable. These skills allow you to support your employer by organising their calendars, work schedules and travels. You need time management skills to create and keep deadlines, set milestones and prioritise tasks.
  • communication skills: as an executive assistant, you require strong verbal and written communication skills. The skills are valuable for proofreading documents and writing correspondence. Communication skills are crucial for phone etiquette as you speak with many clients.
  • adaptability: the work of an executive assistant is dynamic and requires flexibility to adapt to various situations. Sometimes, you work outside standard business hours.
  • computer skills: as an executive assistant, you work with computers to manage your employer's calendars and work schedules. You require computer skills to use various software to track projects. You also use computer skills to prepare reports, complete bookkeeping tasks, and monitor supplies.
  • organisational skills: as an executive assistant, you oversee administrative duties involving many tasks. You require organisational skills to operate efficiently and meet deadlines. Your organisational skills help you with strategic planning and delegation to keep all the tasks in order.

FAQs about working as an executive assistant

Here, you will find the answers to the most frequently asked questions about the profession of an executive assistant.

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