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From Admin to Strategist: Top Executive Assistant Statistics [2023]

Written by: Katie Hill

Occasionally, executive assistants are confused for secretaries. The stereotypes are obvious — they get coffee, answer phones, schedule meetings, and manage email, right?


Here’s how Harvard Business Review sums it up: “EAs who work for C-suite executives are referred to as the right arms to leaders, the backbone to companies, and the face of the company culture. They are the eyes, and ears, and the glue of the organization.”

More than masters of admin, executive assistants are the strategic partners that senior execs can’t afford to work without. In business speak, they’re an undeniable competitive advantage with off-the-charts ROI.

So, who are they? What exactly do they do? How has the role evolved post-pandemic?

Let’s answer all of that and more through the lens of the top 15 executive assistant statistics that tell quite an interesting story.

Profile Of The Modern Executive Assistant

Right now, there are over 304,678 executive assistants working in the United States alone.

Most of them are women, making up 86.9% of all executive assistants.

The average age of an executive assistant is 49 years old. This means they have lots of experience, which is helpful in a business world that’s always changing, especially with recent shifts due to the pandemic.

When we look at ethnicity, most executive assistants are White (71.0%). The next biggest groups are Hispanic or Latino (11.2%), Black or African American (7.6%), and Asian (5.0%).

There’s a need for more diversity in this job to boost creativity and better problem-solving. (However, as a top inclusive workplace we’ve seen that a remote working model can actually boost diversity and inclusion!)

In summary, today’s executive assistants are mostly experienced women who play a key role in running businesses across the United States. They are adapting and changing to fit our uncertain business climate.

The Shift To Remote Work And Tech Savviness For Executive Assistants

COVID-19 changed the way we work for good. And today, EAs are becoming much more technology-centric. Executive assistants are commonly required to be the command center for an entire hybrid staff.

They frequently need to know how to leverage SEO marketing, create presentations, run virtual meetings and breakout sessions, execute surveys, manage productivity apps, and use project management software, at minimum.

The rapid shift to remote work forced companies to adopt new technology and find ways to stay connected during quarantines.

This shift continues to pave the way for experienced women like moms, caregivers, military spouses, and more to work as high-level remote executive assistants. Plus, research from McKinsey Global Institute found that tasks with higher work-from-home potential perfectly match the role of the modern EA.

Add to this, EAs now constantly upskill to stay competitive—which puts them in solid control of their career trajectory. Which data say 77% of employers see workers who upskill regularly as more appealing candidates.

One of the primary ways EAs are boosting their tech savviness and productivity is by embracing AI. (We’ve certainly done the same at Boldly.) They’re also spending more time on digital training and onboarding, overseeing requested IT work, and managing virtual meetings.

This exemplifies their sharp departure from a purely administrative role. They’re being trusted to lead and manage organizational changes, too. However, as the executive assistant role has grown in strategic importance, so have the risks to their physical and mental health.

Burnout And Underutilization Are Real Concerns

As the proverbial “backbones” of their companies, executive assistants are at risk of burning out. More American workers are experiencing burnout now than at the height of the pandemic, Forbes says.

Younger employees and women are more likely to report burnout. However, a supportive culture and ample flexibility can help reverse the trend. Remote work offers the chance for a better work-life balance, and fewer work stressors, such as a commute. Wise EAs and employers can lean on this as a solution and even prevention.

A study from Old Dominion University sheds light on another layer of workplace wellness: “The single most effective way organizations can achieve a satisfied workforce is to provide their employees with mentally challenging work.”

This should be a focus area for every organization with EAs. Executive assistants on CareerExplorer rated their skills utilization 2.6 out of 5.

Most feel that their skills are being underutilized, which can lead to dissatisfaction with their role. This means there’s a great opportunity for CEOs to trust their EAs more.

Challenge them with meaningful and expanded projects. Offer opportunities to upskill. Use their full skillsets so you don’t leave talent on the table.

Your company will benefit as much as your team does.

Mapping The Future: The Expanding Role And Influence of Executive Assistants

It’s clear that executive assistants have influence at the decision-making table. Their future is big and bright. As the role evolves, it will bring more challenging tasks and complexities. But with that responsibility comes the chance to make an even greater difference while advancing a meaningful career.

EAs are ready to keep expanding their roles. The question for companies: are you ready to make the most of their potential?

Published on August 21st, 2023

About the author: Katie Hill is a Content Writer at Boldly, which offers Premium Subscription Staffing for demanding executives and founders. When she isn't writing about remote work or productivity, she can be found adventuring in Colorado's backcountry.