Working Kind – Pay Gap: Admin Pay Depends on the Title, Education and Industry

April 20, 2010    

Original Article: Working Kind

by: Vickie Elmer

It could be title inflation or education’s advantage. Or executive privilege. Or more responsibilities.

Whatever the reasons, an executive assistant makes a lot more than a secretary – about 60 percent more last year, according to Compensation Data annual pay survey

As they celebrate Administrative Professionals Week, the secretary has little to celebrate on the wage front. She averages just $31,300 a year – or about $602 a week – according to Compensation Data’s 2009 survey of 5,300 employers.

Administrative assistants fares a bit better, earning $35,700 on average, or $687 a week.

Better still to work as an executive assistant , who makes an average of $49,600, or $954 a week.

Of course, the executive assistant job generally requires a bachelor’s degree and at least three years experience as an admin, while many secretaries can get hired with a high school diploma and a good recommendation.

The pay gap between the three sisters of admin jobs has existed for years, since at least 2004, Compensation Data’s surveys show.

The federal government’s Occupational Outlook Handbook also acknowledges the wide variety of salaries, reflecting varied skill levels and responsibilities. It shows a $11,000 median pay difference between secretary and executive secretary and administrative assistant  (who are joined in one group in the Labor Department reports). That gap grew by $1,000 or more in recent years.

Secretaries and administrative assistants are still one of the largest occupations in the United States, with 4.3 million workers in 2008. Of that, 1.59 million serve in higher paying executive and administrative assistants jobs, an increase of more than 10 percent over three or so years.

The fastest growing administrative job through 2018 will be medical secretaries, which will add 125,000 jobs for a 27 percent gain. Some of the openings, the government report notes, will result from admins leaving their profession, or getting promoted to higher and better paying jobs.

The best paying admin jobs are found at music / recording companies, securities exchange or brokerage houses or the executive branch of the federal government. Their annual paycheck tops others by a $11,000 a year or more, or more than 30 percent, the government reported.

So if you’re taking your secretary or admin to lunch this week, use the time to discuss her career goals and ways to build her skills. Or give her a professional membership or some educational reimbursement instead of flowers, OfficeTeam suggests. (It has a downloadable report called 25 Ways to Recognize Your Staff .)

Just don’t call her a secretary in handing out an assignment, a gift – or a raise.

Original Article: Working Kind

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