Weekend Poll Results: Environmental Scan of Readers’ Experiences

With thanks to all who are participating, here are the results of this past weekend’s poll. Our focus:

How readers’ experiences compare with those of my panel members

With my early 2017 panel series exploring the realities of today’s admin. profession, my latest Weekend Poll asked readers some of the same questions I posed to my international panel. The results?

Graduation - Mortar Board

You bring credentials to the role: 32% of respondents hold bachelor’s degrees, and another 9% have earned Master’s degrees. 12% of you hold post-secondary diplomas, and another 18% of you have acquired a post-secondary certificate. 15% of you have partial completion of an undergraduate degree. In total, 91% of respondents have undertaken formal education beyond high school.

Broadway NYC Commuter 0887 Copyright Shelagh Donnelly

Do you have male admin. professionals in your workplace?  A full 43% of respondents do not. However, more than a third of you identified that 1 – 5% of the admin. professionals in your workplace happen to be men. An interesting twist: 15.5% of you reported that there are male admin. professionals in your organisations’ C-Suites. Read on for more details.

Montreal Time 9316 Copyright Shelagh Donnelly

Career longevity: People tend to vote with their feet when it comes to careers, and 38.5% of you have been admin. professionals for more than a quarter century. Another 19% of you have been in the role for more than two decades. At the other end of the spectrum, 9.5% of respondents have been in the role for 10 years or less – which is still significant, since this is a career in which people tend to sink or swim.

Allium Path 0289 Copyright Shelagh Donnelly

Not always an identified career path … At least, it wasn’t for 57% of respondents. I look forward to asking this question in future years, and assessing whether education has any impact on future trends. For now, though, 43% of respondents are in this career by design.



Time Redux

Results reflect the percentage of readers’ responses to specific questions/ratings

How long have you been an administrative professional?
  • Less than five years: 3% of you
  • Five – 10 years: 6.5%
  • 11 – 15 years: 23%
  • 16 – 20 years: 10%
  • 21 – 25 years: 19%
  • 26 – 30 years: 29%
  • 31 -35 years: 6.5%
  • 36 – 40 years: 3%
What was your job title in your first admin. role?

Remember, some of the job titles we use today were not commonplace (or in existence at all!) when some readers began their admin. careers. Here are readers’ initial job titles, provided in descending order of frequency of mentions.

  • Secretary
  • EA
  • Administrator
  • Administrative Assistant
  • Office Manager
  • PA (Personal Assistant)
  • Office Junior
  • Word Processing Operator
  • Admin. Assistant / Administrative Assistant
  • Administrative Coordinator
  • Executive Secretary
  • Legal Secretary
  • Clerk Typist
  • Reception and Admin. Assistant
Did you intend to establish a career as an administrative professional?
  • No: 57% of you
  • Yes: 43% of you
What is the highest level of formal education  you hold? 

More than 40% of you hold an undergraduate degree or higher, and approximately 91% of you have secured formal education beyond high school.

  • Master’s degree: 9% of respondents
  • Bachelor’s degree: 32%
  • Certificate granted by a college, institute or CEGEP: 18%
  • Diploma granted by a college, institute or CEGEP: 12%
  • Partial completion of undergraduate degree: 15%
  • High school diploma: 9%
  • 9% of you selected “Other”. After noting that one person’s comments reflected partial completion of an undergraduate degree, this left 6% of you in this category. Some people commented, “Foundation Degree” and “Completed apprenticeship in hotel management”.
What percentage of the admin. professionals employed in your organisation do you estimate are male?
  • 0% male admin. professionals: 43% of respondents’ organisations
  • 1 – 5% male admin. professionals: 36% of your organisations
  • 6 – 10% male admin. professionals: 7% of your organisations
  • 16 – 20% male admin. professionals: 7% of your organisations
  • 33% male admin. professionals: 3.5% of your organisations
  • Another 3.5% of you selected “Other” without providing any comments.
Are job titles and position descriptions gender-neutral in your workplace? 
  • Yes: 89% of respondents
  • No: 11% of respondents
What percentage of the admin. professionals working in your organisation’s C-Suite are male?  
  • 0% males in the C-Suite: 84.5% of respondents’ organisations
  • 1 – 5% males in the C-Suite: 11.5% of your organisations
  • 46 – 50% males in the C-Suite: 4% of your organisations
Have you experienced or observed gender-related disadvantages/challenges in seeking/building a career as an admin. professional? 
  • No: 75% of respondents
  • Yes: 14% of respondents – Based on a couple of comments, though, the percentage is actually higher
  • 11% of you selected “Other”. Only two people provided comments, shown below.
    • “Men seem to feel they know it all before they do and expect a promotion quickly”
    • “Definitely have seen different behaviour towards men in the profession”
Lastly, I asked how can we as a profession can counter any such disadvantages/challenges.

Only one person offered a comment, and a good one at that: “Assistants can create a set of actionable objectives in order to raise awareness.”


Check Wednesday’s post for more on this special series.

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