Personal assistant

PA secretary executive secretary executive assistant

Career outlook for personal assistant

UK Salary Ranges





Currently employed in Scotland


Salary information is provided by the "National Careers Service". "Oxford Economics" supplies job forecasts and employment figures. Due to COVID-19 the jobs market is constantly changing. Some of the information may not reflect the current situation.

What's it like?

You would help a manager make the best use of their time by giving secretarial support and dealing with day-to-day tasks.

You would:

  • Screen telephone calls and handle enquiries
  • Update your manager’s diary and make appointments
  • Deal with letters and emails
  • Write letters and produce reports and presentations
  • Arrange meetings
  • Look after office systems
  • Take notes at meetings
  • Make travel arrangements
  • Look after visitors

Many managers give their personal assistants a high level of responsibility, so in some jobs you may have to:

  • Stand in for the manager in their absence
  • Manage other administrative staff
  • Deal with accounts and budgets
  • Take on project work, such as research

You’d have to enjoy a varied day, and be good at doing several different things at once.

Working conditions


You would usually work standard office hours Monday to Friday, possibly with extra hours to meet deadlines. Part-time work may be available.


You would be based at an office, but you may sometimes travel to go to meetings and other events.

UK employment status





Self employed


Here are some of the skills needed for this job. Sign in to see how your skills match up.

  • Reliable
  • Time management
  • Developing a plan
  • Sorting
  • Attention to detail
  • Verbal communication
  • Written communication
  • Cooperating
  • Observation

Skills Explorer

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To understand more, have a look at What are my skills?

Our Skills Explorer tool will help you understand what skills you have and match them to jobs that might suit you.

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Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you’ll need.

Foundation Apprenticeships

Choosing a Foundation Apprenticeship as one of your subjects in S5 and S6 can help you get a head start with this type of job.

You'll get an SCQF level 6 qualification (the same level as a Higher) plus valuable work placement experience and skills you can't learn in a classroom.

Interested? Find out what's on offer at your school on


Qualifications at SCQF level 4-6 are usually asked for and relevant work-based experience is essential. Many applicants have a Higher National Certificate (SCQF level 7), Higher National Diploma (SCQF level 8) or a degree (SCQF level 9/10).

Entry requirements to study an administration National Certificate course or National Qualification course range from no formal qualifications up to three to four subjects at National 4/5 level.

You need one to two Highers for an Higher National Certificate or Higher National Diploma and Nationals and three to five Highers to enter a degree.

Useful subjects

  • English (required by most course and employers) 
  • Maths
  • Business
  • ICT subjects
  • Administrative subjects

Helpful to have

Qualifications that show your organisational, teamworking and ICT skills  and any qualifications that involve work-based experience such as Skills for Work courses.

You can work your way up from an administrative job, gaining qualifications while you work such as a Scottish Vocational Qualification in business and administration (SVQ level 2 /3) or a similar.

Ability in a foreign language can be useful for some roles.