High Demand, Low Supply of Executive Assistants
Job site Lensa recently released its list of the most in-demand jobs. Number three on the list: administrative assistant.
"The most in-demand job roles of 2021 are desk-based administration roles – Customer Service Representative, Receptionist, and Administrative Assistant," the report said. "These were most-posted on the Lensa database."
From 2000-2019, the U.S. economy shed more than 2.1 million administrative and office support jobs, most to technology. First came productivity tools like voicemail and email that made traditional receptionists unnecessary. Next, calendars, project management, travel planning, and other apps and platforms have created the expectation that executives can be self-sufficient and take care of their admin tasks.
Execs Spend 16 Hours a Week on Admin Work
Businesses are turning to remote virtual assistant service providers to fill their need for executive administrative support. Staffing Industry Analysts (SIA), a global workforce consultancy, issued its first-ever assessment of "The Virtual Assistant Landscape" in mid-2021. A key driver for the growth of the VA market is the need to enable executives to spend more time moving businesses forward.
Service Now's State of Work report found that executives spend an average of 16 hours a week on administrative tasks—60 percent of the week.
Companies realizing that paying executives to do admin work is lousy business can outsource the work to experts—managed virtual assistant services.
How a Managed Virtual Assistant Service Works
The shortage of executive assistants is particularly challenging for businesses with larger executive teams needing to scale up support quickly. According to LinkedIn, the tight labor market and surging demand mean it takes 33 days to hire an administrative assistant. Stretch that time out for multiple executives, and you have a daunting challenge.
- Hire faster—service providers maintain a bench of qualified, trained assistants.
- Scale more quickly—it is far easier to hire multiple assistants that can form a cohort.
- Low overhead—the assistants are service provider employees, with no HR or performance management lift for businesses.
- Lower cost—assistants are engaged on a fractional basis, and you pay for hours used.
"The more sophisticated and highly developed VA firms will offer a managed service where Virtual Assistants are supervised locally with the quality of work checked and with regular training and development offered," SIA said. "This contrasts to a self-serve model which is more akin to a platform that simply facilitates the introduction of a client to a Virtual Assistant and does not provide ongoing support throughout the engagement."
The managed service model enables companies to build an administrative support layer for executives, getting expert assistants with minimal cost and management responsibilities.
Software Company Builds Administrative Layer
Healthcare navigation software maker Castlight Health found that its regional vice presidents (RVPs) around the country were managing teams while juggling administrative tasks like scheduling, expense reports, and updating the CRM. The admin work became a drag on growth.
Hiring multiple assistants in multiple locations wasn’t feasible. Castlight turned to a managed virtual assistant service provider to fill the gap. Managed service providers hire, train, and oversee the work of remote virtual assistants on a fractional basis. The assistants are service provider employees, which means there is little lift for HR or the executives.
Castlight quickly scaled to 17 virtual assistants supporting its distributed team.
"I initially expected the service to take substantial upfront time from me to get it working," said RVP Seth Cohen. "But the managed service processes made it impressively turnkey."
Getting Executives Back to Business
Admin needs are resurfacing and a priority for executive teams just has labor supplies and hiring challenges are peaking. Managed virtual assistant services can fill the gap with high-skill, low-overhead experts that add no extra lift for executives or HR teams.
To learn what it is like to work with a managed virtual assistant service, download this guide.
About the Author: Bill is Prialto's senior content marketing manager and writes about the future of work and how businesses can be more productive and successful. His work has appeared in the World Economic Forum Agenda blog and CIO magazine.