Today is Administrative Professional’s Day. It is always celebrated during Administrative Professional’s Week which this year runs from April 24-30, 2016. According to holidayinsights.com, National Professional Secretaries Week and National Secretary’s Day was first created in 1952 through the work of Harry F. Klemfuss of Young and Rubicam. Klemfuss, recognizing the importance and value of the secretary position to a company or business, created the holiday in recognition of the importance of secretaries.
Of course, the role and responsibilities of the administrative professional has changed significantly since 1952 and since then the holiday name has changed twice to recognize and acknowledge this fact. The the name was first changed to Professional Secretaries Day in 1981 and then became Administrative Professionals Day in 2000.
Administrative Professionals are now taking on more responsibility than at any other time in history. Administrative Assistants today need strong communication skills to effectively collaborate with a variety of people and job functions, accomplishing tasks of moderate to high complexity and scope. The Administrative Assistant may be required to keep their team’s business operations and activities organized and moving forward. They’ll need to be self-starters who can recognize where processes can be improved and who will take the initiative to improve them.
Administrative Assistants, particularly Executive Administrative Assistants, must also possess strong business judgment, professional etiquette and organizational, analytical and problem-solving skills to be able to interact with high-level executives both inside and outside of the company.
In addition to doing the more traditional tasks such as managing correspondence, office budgets and space planning and moderating office calendars and communication, the Administrative Assistant must acquire a thorough knowledge of their company’s products and services to be able to effectively analyze and anticipate the needs of their managers, team members and their projects.
Despite the ever growing list of responsibilities, demand for some Administrative Professionals is actually on the decline. According to bls.gov, overall employment of secretaries and administrative assistants is projected to grow just 3 percent from 2014 to 2024 with executive secretaries, administrative assistants and legal secretaries actually projected to decline 4-6 percent for this time period. The reason, they state, is that technology is expected to substitute some functions that administrative staff used to do. For instance, some managers now often type their own correspondence or schedule their own travel and meetings. Also, the trend for entrepreneurs and small businesses to hire virtual assistants on as “as needed” basis often eliminates the need for a full time on-site administrative professional.
One exception to this trend is for medical secretaries which is projected to grow 21 percent from 2014 to 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations. Some of the reasons cited for this growth is the growing number of individuals who now have access to health insurance because of federal health insurance reform. Also, aging baby boomers are expected to demand more medical services as they become eligible for Social Security and Medicare.
There is some controversy today as to whether there should even be an Administrative Professional Day anymore, especially in light of the changes in the roles and responsibilities of admins in the 21st Century. However, as of 2016, the tradition still remains firmly ingrained in the minds of bosses and businesses around the country and worldwide who are using today as a way to show appreciation to their hard working administrative professionals. Who doesn’t want to be appreciated for what they do anyway, even if it is only once a year? “Happy Administrative Professionals Day”.