Personal assistant

PA secretary executive secretary executive assistant

Career outlook for

Figures and forecasts for roles at the same level, which require similar skills and qualifications.

Average UK salary

Currently employed in Scotland

Jobs forecast

This information is supplied by LMI For All, where data is currently available for Scotland.

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

Hours

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

Environment

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

UK employment status

Full-time

Part-time

Self employed

People behind the job

Meet real people who’ve done this job – hear their stories and the path they took to get there.

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

Build your skills

Your skills can help you choose the career that’s right for you. You can build your skills through work, study or activities you do in your spare time.

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

Keep track of your skills in your account and find the jobs, opportunities and courses that suit you.

Click here to view / add your skills

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 Apprenticeships.scot.

Qualifications

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.