KANSAS CITY, Mo., April 21, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following is a statement by Mary Ramsay-Drow, CPS/CAP:
As president of the association that started Administrative Professionals Day, two questions have nagged at me this year. Is the administrative profession still vibrant and growing as it was in 1952 when we started the day? In this difficult economy, does Administrative Professionals Day even matter? I believe the answer is "yes" to both.
The International Association of Administrative Professionals started APW as a way to attract secretaries to jobs in business and government, because there was a shortage of skilled office workers. Then there were fewer people in the profession and it tended to be a one-on-one job: One secretary took care of the dictation, filing and typing of one executive.
In the last few months I've read several news stories concerning the demise of the administrative profession. These articles are missing the bigger picture or assuming that administrative professionals are only typing, filing and opening mail. We're not. If that's all we're doing then I agree our demise is imminent. However, our skills encompass a lot more.
Times have drastically changed since 1952. Today, according to our research, there are few traditional secretaries left in private sector business and government. Only 5 percent of our members still hold the title of secretary. Computers have made it easy for executives to take on a lot of work a secretary used to do for them, freeing up an admin for more complex duties. We are now multi-talented office professionals that manage projects, manage budgets, learn and teach software applications and train staff. Those skills just touch the surface. If a middle manager got downsized during the recession, it's likely the boss handed the admin many of his duties and if she didn't know what to do, she learned.
Statistics show our numbers are on the rise. According to the most recent numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, secretaries and administrative assistants held about 4.3 million jobs in 2008, ranking it among the largest occupations in the U.S. economy. The profession is expected to grow another 11 percent by 2018.
We're a vibrant part of the workforce and we're here to stay. That's because those who call themselves administrative professionals continually adapt to the changing needs of the workplace and the people in the office they support. But we're not the only ones who have adapted over the last few years.
It's been a difficult recession for office professionals of all career tracks. The majority of us have experienced pay cuts and seen the company match for our retirement plans disappear. Many of us were downsized and still are searching for work. The economy has shot a right-hook to the majority of us working 9 to 5, filling our cubicles with more gloom than sunshine. A 2011 survey by our association shows that only 9 percent of workers are hopeful they'll see a change for the better in the coming 12 months.
What makes sense to us this year is to open up the celebration on Administrative Professionals Day to all professionals in the office. We've all pulled together, not just the administrative professionals, and we've all earned well-deserved kudos for taking on more work, staying later and working smarter. Admins are still needed and relevant, and so is a day to acknowledge hardworking staff.
Mary Ramsay-Drow, CPS/CAP is president of the International Association of Administrative Professionals, the world's leading association of administrative professionals.
SOURCE International Association of Administrative Professionals