This job is sometimes referred to by alternative titles
Personal assistants provide administrative, secretarial, and general support to senior managers. They may also be responsible for budgets and financial planning.
Personal assistants usually earn
$48K-$65K per year
Executive assistants usually earn
$50K-$90K per year
Source: Hays Recruitment, 'The 2015 Hays Salary Guide', 2015.
Pay for personal assistants varies depending on their location, experience and level of responsibility.
- Personal assistants usually earn between $48,000 and $65,000 a year.
- Executive assistants who work with senior executives in large organisations usually earn $50,000 to $90,000.
Sources: Hays Recruitment, 'The 2015 Hays Salary Guide', 2015.
What you will do
Personal assistants may do some or all of the following:
- keep managers' diaries – including making their appointments and travel arrangements
- take messages, answer queries and screen telephone calls and visitors
- arrange meetings, conference calls, hui and conferences
- take minutes and dictation
- research, prepare and format emails, letters, reports, and other documents
- prepare monthly reports, budgets, financial data and presentations
- manage projects and/or junior staff.
Skills and knowledge
Personal assistants need to have:
- knowledge of their organisations and what other staff do
- good writing skills, including report writing skills
- knowledge of financial reporting and budgeting
- the ability to keep up to date with changes in office technology
- research skills
- staff and project management skills.
- usually work regular office hours, but may sometimes work longer hours, or evenings and weekends, or work part time
- work in offices
- may work in stressful conditions if they support managers who are in high-pressure jobs
- may occasionally travel locally, or overseas, to attend meetings or conferences.
What's the job really like?
Chief Judge's PA, Maori Land Court
"The best thing about working in the Chief Judge’s Chambers, for me, is working with judiciary, working closely with those very intelligent people. I love being around them."
Discretion and being trustworthy are essential
"In this job you need to know how to build relationships with other people. You have to be very tactful – and diplomatic too. You have to be organised and able to manage another person’s diary and their time. And be able to communicate with that person at all times. You build that relationship with them, so they can trust you and rely on you, so it’s very important that you are a trustworthy person.
"We have a lot of secure documents that I need to keep confidential. Every time I’m away from my desk I actually lock up all my documents regarding anything to do with the Chief Judge."
People make the job
"I get to organise events, I get to have input into what happens within our unit, and they are a great bunch of people. I love my job!"
There are no specific requirements for becoming a personal assistant.
However, many workplaces provide training for personal assistants on topics such as staff management, working with financial data, or software packages.
Personal assistants may also:
- attend relevant courses at polytechnics or business management companies
- become members of the Association of Administrative Professionals NZ Inc (AAPNZ), which offers professional development opportunities.
There are no specific secondary requirements. However, the following subjects may be useful:
- business studies.
Personal assistants need to be:
- diplomatic and discreet, with good judgement
- able to show initiative and work well under pressure
- able to relate to people from a range of cultures and at all levels of management
- good at planning, organisation and time management
- skilled in decision-making and problem-solving.
Useful experience for personal assistants includes:
- word processing and data-entry work
- reception work
- customer service work
- administration work.
Find out more about training
- Association of Administrative Professionals NZ
- firstname.lastname@example.org - www.aapnz.org.nz
What are the chances of getting a job?
Experienced personal assistants in demand
Chances of getting a job as a personal assistant are best for people who have a broad range of skills, including experience supervising staff and office administration skills.
For those looking to get into the profession, it's best to gain experience working in general administration before applying for a personal assistant job.
Personal assistants work in range of industries
Most major industries employ personal assistants. The top five types of businesses that employ personal assistants are:
- legal and accounting services
- school education
- government administration
- marketing and business management services
- real estate agents.
- Hays Recruitment, 'The 2015 Hays Salary Guide', 2015, (www.hays.net.nz).
- Hays, 'Quarterly Report, April-June 2016 – Office Support', 2016, (www.hays.net.nz).
- Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, '2006-2014 Occupation Data' (prepared for Careers New Zealand), 2015.
Progression and specialisations
Personal assistants may move into roles in event planning, human resources, marketing, project management or public relations.
They may also move into middle management, but usually need to gain more qualifications to do so.
Last updated 16 June 2017