Administrative assistants (NOC 1241)

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

Earnings

Annual provincial median salary

$45,883

Source: 2016 Job Bank Wage data

Note:Estimated median employment income based on 2016 Job Bank median hourly wage rate (median annual salary = hourly wage rate x 40 (hours per week) x 52.14 (weeks per year))

Provincial hourly rate

  • High
  • Median
  • Low

Source: 2016 Job Bank Wage Report

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.

Job requirements

Education, training & qualifications

Completion of secondary school is generally required. Other training or requirements may include:

  • Completion of a one- or two-year college or other program for administrative assistants or secretaries 
    or
    Previous clerical experience is required.

Skills

  • Clerical Ability
  • Numerical Ability
  • Detail-Oriented
  • Finger Dexterity
View skills definitions

Education programs in B.C.

The following program areas are related to this occupation:
  • Administrative Assistance/Office Assistance

For more information about programs offered specifically for this career, visit EducationPlannerBC.

Select a region to view regional outlook
Vancouver Island / Coast Mainland / Southwest Thompson-Okanagan Kootenay Cariboo Northeast North Coast & Nechako
Cariboo
Employment in 2016:
1,150
Average annual employment growth:
0.6%
Expected number of job openings:
470
Kootenay
Employment in 2016:
1,190
Average annual employment growth:
1.2%
Expected number of job openings:
580
Mainland / Southwest
Employment in 2016:
21,520
Average annual employment growth:
1.1%
Expected number of job openings:
9,340
North Coast & Nechako
Employment in 2016:
540
Average annual employment growth:
0.2%
Expected number of job openings:
200
Northeast
Employment in 2016:
660
Average annual employment growth:
1.4%
Expected number of job openings:
350
Thompson-Okanagan
Employment in 2016:
3,970
Average annual employment growth:
1.5%
Expected number of job openings:
2,070
Vancouver Island / Coast
Employment in 2016:
5,920
Average annual employment growth:
1.2%
Expected number of job openings:
2,710

Source: B.C. Labour Market Outlook

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