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How much have admins’ duties changed?

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In honor of this year's Administrative Professionals Week, April 23-27, we're taking stock of the changes in admins' responsibilities over the past decade.

Every year, the International Asso­ciation of Administrative Profes­sionals surveys its members. The 2011 results were revealing.

1.  Admins have been taking on more responsibilities, while reporting to an increasing number of executives and experiencing cuts.

Example: Fewer administrative pros say they support only one or two executives. In 2002, that figure was 57%. By last year, it was 45%.

Nearly half the survey respondents said the number of support staff at their companies had decreased since 2008. And of those, 54% said their workload had increased.

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2.  "Juggling multiple priorities” was listed as admins' biggest daily challenge, perhaps as a result of downsizing and having multiple bosses. Also mentioned: "dealing with difficult people and personalities” and "not having enough time to complete work.”

3.  The survey also brought to the forefront some of the victories within the profession.

Increased workloads have allowed admins to make a bigger impact. Two-thirds of respondents say they have more workplace autonomy and authority, compared with five years ago. Roughly 80% say they've made a greater contribution.

Example: Close to 75% say they make purchasing decisions or recommendations. They spend about $15,000 annually. At least half manage their boss's email inbox.

4.  Keeping up with technology is growing in importance, administrative professionals report. While most believe they have the tools they need, they put these on their wish list: a "faster, more powerful computer” (38%), "additional software/upgraded software” (34%) and a "larger computer monitor.”

Source: Administrative Professional Skills 2011 Benchmarking Survey, IAAP.

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