‘Mad Men’ Effect May Mean More Secretaries

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For Immediate Release
Contact: 
Ray Weikal, Communications Specialist
816) 891-6600 ext: 2222

With the approach of the 60th anniversary of Administrative Professionals Day April 25, the International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP) may have discovered a genuine example of life imitating art.

In its most recent survey of admins around the world, IAAP noted a significant increase in the number of administrative professionals who have “secretary” in their job title. This shift towards more admins with “secretary” titles marks a reversal of popularity for a job title that has been in decline for at least 20 years.

This job title shift is one of the recent business trends noted in IAAP’s 2011 “Administrative Professional Skills Benchmarking Survey”. Every two years, the association gathers data from its members about job titles, responsibilities, average salaries, job satisfaction, technology usage and other related issues. More than 3,300 admins participated in the 2011 survey. It provides a unique inside look at modern business.

Though the top two job titles for IAAP members were Executive Assistant (29 percent) and Administrative Assistant” (25 percent), the third most common job title was Administrative Secretary (seven percent). That’s the first time in several years that Administrative Secretary” made it into the top three job titles. In fact, the number of admins with “secretary” in their titles nearly doubled in four years, going from eight percent in 2009 to nearly 15 percent in 2011.

Exactly why there are more admins with “secretary” in their job titles is unclear, though it may be due to a “Mad Men Effect.” It’s possible the popular AMC series could be stoking a certain nostalgia for the 1950s-era classic image of the American corporate secretary.

Regardless of their titles, Admins are integral and professional members of their office team, and they impact every level of the world’s economy. Their work has become more complicated, demanding and technical. In 2011, administrative professionals were expected to support an increasing number of executives or managers. An increased workload has also meant that admins are having a greater impact on their employers. Approximately two-thirds report that their level of workplace autonomy and authority has increased in the last five years. About 80 percent say their overall contribution at work has also increased during the same period. Admins are the pulse of the office.

IAAP, headquartered in Kansas City, Mo., is the world’s leading association for administrative professionals, with over 500 chapters and more than 22,000 members worldwide. IAAP sponsors Administrative Professionals Week®, held the last full week in April and Administrative Professionals Day® on Wednesday of APW. Further information about IAAP is available at www.iaap-hq.org.

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