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Is the future of the admin position truly guaranteed?

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Question: "Do you find that the position of administrative assistant is becoming a thing of the past? I am retiring next month and they’re not replacing my position."  - Sally, Admin

See comments below, and send your own question to Admin-Pro@nibm.net.

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Sasa Todorovic June 16, 2015 at 7:57 am

There will always be a need for an administrative professional but it seems that their titles are changing. On the other hand there are apps that can “replace” admins but still someone has to use them. Boss can use the app to do everything that I am doing himself but still does he have a time to waste it on that?

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Marlena June 5, 2015 at 7:54 am

I believe there will always be a need for an administrative professional but it seems that our titles are changing. The role of an Administrative Assistant/Secretary has evolved into so many different positions that maintaining those titles limits our growing functions. As someone else put it, there will always be a need for those of us behind-the-scenes to keep the front line performers on task and on point. They will always need us but we will have different titles depending on the industry, company and specific job functions. We will always be needed!!!

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Tracy June 4, 2015 at 6:23 pm

At my company, two admins retired in R&D at the same time and they did not replace them. I was the third admin in R&D and they farmed out some of the duties in one dept to someone who works in the lab and just expected me to take up the slack for the other one. That is the reality nowadays. My current boss wants to focus on the science and staff management, so I do all the administrative stuff for him. He would certainly miss me, but who knows about a future boss? In almost 28 years, my job has changed completely, but they always need someone to submit PO’s in SAP and process invoices, so I think they still need admins. They just expect less of us to do more and more. Enjoy your retirement! Maybe someday I’ll be that lucky.

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Mary May 22, 2015 at 2:51 pm

Happy Retirement Sally! I agree that Administrative Assistant is different at every company. I am considered a “Girl Friday” because I wear so many hats. I am officially the Operations Assistant, but I am also the Quality Management Coordinator, HIPAA Officer, Education Coordinator, and Waste Admin Manager. As you can see, in my field of work (Private laboratory), it would take many lesser positions to replace me. I think “Assistants” will always be needed on the administrative level, but in order to cut corners and save money, I have seen the title change without losing any of the duties and being paid less. For instance, a colleague of mine was promoted to “Customer Service Supervisor”, but all of her duties are that of an administrative assistant, yet her pay is way below that of an administrative assistant.

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Diane J-H May 22, 2015 at 9:48 am

I think the administrative professional will always be around; however, the job may evolve. The responsibilities I performed over 15 years ago have changed and, in other aspects, stayed the same. With evolving technology, that’s the part of my job that has changed. I’m not using a typewriter (though I think it is funny when I’m asked to change the correction ribbon on it), I do more calendaring and reservations than I ever have in the past, and I don’t have to physically fold and stuff mass mailings. I send those jobs out. Some of the things that have stayed the same: coordinating projects, meetings, and taking notes/minutes.

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Frida May 22, 2015 at 8:31 am

As long as bosses only have one pair of hands, there will always be a need for someone to take away some of their load and get their ‘ankle-biter’ tasks done. What those tasks consist of just evolves over time. No worries, we’ll be around forever!

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Claudia May 21, 2015 at 5:12 pm

Absolutely they’re going away! With that said, a whole new line of work has evolved that we now do. While I see managers, directors, etc. doing more and more for themselves, the level of detail that an administrative assistant or secretary gives a document to make certain that it looks professional, is missing. Whatever our title becomes, yes, we’re very much needed. While they may not be replacing you today, it probably won’t be long before they realize that you did so much more than they thought and they’d better find help quickly. It’s the little things we do without direction that makes such a difference. Congratulations on the retirement!

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Donna May 21, 2015 at 4:59 pm

I may have the title of Administrative Assistant, but my duties seem to be very different from those of most assistants I meet. The title may change to Resource Manager or be rolled into Human Resources. In my case, I’ve found my job to be more in line with Office Manager, Regulatory Manager or Human Resources at other companies. My job has definitely changed since I started – first thing every morning I turned on the boss’ computer and printed out e-mails, then copied & distributed them. Technology (and a new boss) has changed all that, but now, someone has to contain and archive all the electronic information and be able to retrieve it. We’ll always need those people working behind-the-scenes to help the front line people do their jobs.

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Samantha Pell May 21, 2015 at 4:39 pm

Sometimes I worry that technology will wind up making my boss’s calendar and travel tasks so easy that she’ll start to rely on me to do more and more real grunt work, like data entry or running errands, and I’ll wind up feeling less like a pro than I do now. I don’t think the admin position is going to go away anytime soon, but I also don’t think it’s going to become any more desirable to people coming into the field.

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Colleen, HR Administrative Coordinator May 21, 2015 at 4:30 pm

Hello Sally! Warmest congratulations on your retirement! I don’t really know if administrative positions have become a thing of the past, but roles and duties continue to evolve. Perhaps the company is trying to save money? I think it will be interesting to see what happens. Honestly, I have seen situations where positions were discontinued only to have them reinstated later at some point. Wishing you every happiness!

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Judy March 10, 2016 at 4:31 pm

Many positions are believed to be “not needed” UNTIL some task or report or something falls through the cracks as it usually does. I’m nearing retirement myself and often think to myself who’s going to do such and such after I’m gone. My job is so diversified my managers will probably have to cut it into pieces and divvy it up. To me that seems like having too many cooks in the kitchen at the same time. It doesn’t end well.

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Trisha May 21, 2015 at 4:24 pm

While I agree that many executives have become quite self-sufficient over the years, many still cannot do without someone to assist them in their day-to-day activities. Whether making personal phone calls or appointments, picking up laundry, etc., or creating a knock-their-socks-off PowerPoint presentation to the board of directors, the help of a savvy admin will always be necessary to the overall success of any proven executive. Just making sure s/he is on time for their next appointment is enough to justify some needing an assistant! We’ll always be needed!

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Wren May 21, 2015 at 4:20 pm

Could administrative assistants be going the way of the dinosaur? I don’t think so. I think our roles are changing as technology changes the face of our work responsibilities, but I think we will always have a place. When I first started in this career field, it was all about typewriters and knowing a 10-key calculator by touch. I had to know how to answer a multi-line phone and use a dot-matrix printer. Now, I need to know Microsoft Office inside and out, as well as many other software programs. I need to be versatile enough to work from home, as well as the office, so I’m learning all about the Cloud. I use my smart phone to answer emails and texts at all hours. The tools I use bear little resemblance to what used to use to do my job. Sure, my boss could do pretty much everything by himself now, thanks to technology, but he truly doesn’t have the time. He doesn’t have time to set up conference calls or make dinner arrangements when customers visit. He needs to be able to just do his job, which makes the services I perform indispensable. So, I’m thinking this career field will be around for a while. It just might look a little different in the future.

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Mary Cenatiempo May 21, 2015 at 4:10 pm

I find that while some admin jobs may go away, many of us have evolved in terms of the service/duties we provide to our superiors and company. Electronics should never replace the human touch. I am in a service environment so if I were to leave, a replacement would be hired.

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Lisa - !! May 21, 2015 at 4:05 pm

Admins and secretaries will always be around especially if you work for a boss who charges clients by the hour. Maybe your position didn’t have enough work to warrant a new assistant. You must be A-Okay!

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SANDRA May 21, 2015 at 4:00 pm

I have concern about our future with the electronic world we are needed less and less. My boss does most everything for himself and could not live without his cell phone but I am getting more sure every day that he will be able to live without me when I retire. There is an app for everything and I bet there is one for Adm. Asst. (smile) It is called “I can do it myself”……….

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