Administrative assistants (NOC 1241)

High demand occupation

About this job

Administrative assistants perform a variety of administrative duties in support of managerial and professional employers.

People in this occupation:

  • make sure an offices administrative functions are carried out, organize events and meetings, manage distribution of information and keep track of records
  • are employed throughout the private and the public sectors
  • should have well-developed interpersonal and organizational skills
  • should have an interest in working both independently and as part of a team in an office setting
  • require diplomacy as well as good written and verbal communication skills and an ability to carry out instructions
  • should have good attention to detail, quick keyboarding skills and knowledge of office software
Common job titles
  • administrative assistant
  • secretary (except legal and medical)
  • secretary, appointment / recording
  • secretary, executive (not legal / medical)
  • secretary, human resources
  • secretary, personal / private
  • administrative assistant
  • secretary (except legal and medical)
  • secretary, appointment / recording
  • secretary, contracts / finance
  • secretary, executive (not legal / medical)
  • secretary, human resources

Duties

Administrative assistants:

  • Prepare, key in, edit and proofread correspondence, invoices, presentations, brochures, publications, reports and related material from machine dictation and handwritten copy
  • Open and distribute incoming regular and electronic mail and other material and co-ordinate the flow of information internally and with other departments and organizations
  • Schedule and confirm appointments and meetings of employer
  • Order office supplies and maintain inventory
  • Answer telephone and electronic enquiries and relay telephone calls and messages
  • Set up and maintain manual and computerized information filing systems
  • Determine and establish office procedures
  • Greet visitors, ascertain nature of business and direct visitors to employer or appropriate person
  • Record and prepare minutes of meetings
  • Arrange travel schedules and make reservations
  • May compile data, statistics and other information to support research activities
  • May supervise and train office staff in procedures and in use of current software.
  • May organize conferences

Work environment

Administrative assistants work in a wide variety of industries, generally from Monday to Friday.

Administrative assistants spend a great amount of time on computer work, which can put stress on their neck, back, shoulders and eyes. Well-designed equipment, such as headsets for those who spend a lot of time on the phone, can be helpful.

There is significant opportunity for flexible work arrangements. Administrative assistants who work with a placement agency (also known as a “temp" agency) work on short-term placements with private sector client companies and government clients.

Insights from industry

Advances in technology have affected admin duties. Administrative assistants have moved away from typing and taking dictation and are now taking on other duties such as developing spreadsheets, drafting correspondence, supervising databases, updating websites and producing presentation materials.

As well, most professionals now answer their own phones and do their own typing, which has allowed administrative assistants to undertake other tasks. These shifts have resulted in a more complex support role for these workers than in the past. As a result, individuals who have a wider variety of computer skills will be in higher demand.

Career paths and resources

Career paths

With experience and further education, administrative assistants may progress to other occupations such as senior or executive administrative assistants, clerical supervisor, business manager, project manager, office manager or other administrative positions.

Additional resources

  • Association of Administrative Assistants (AAA)
    www.aaa.ca
  • International Association of Administrative Professionals
    www.iaap-hq.org