World Administrators Summit 24-25 October 2018, Frankfurt, Germany

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In part 7 of our series on the World Administrators’ Summit, Eth Lloyd provides details of the new topics for discussion

In November 2017 the Advisory Council for the World Administrators Summit (WASummit) developed and sent out a pre-summit survey to gather information on what new topics administrative professionals around the world wanted discussed.

The survey was sent to all professional associations, who were then asked to share it with their members for feedback; through social media to individual administrative professionals; and to individuals who had expressed an interest in the WASummit (where we had email contact details). The response has been amazing, and we received responses from 23 countries.

Our respondents came from all levels of experience, from 1 – 30+ years, which makes the data very valuable. However, 64% of the respondents came from those who had worked in the administrative profession for 10 – 30 years, with a further 18% from those who have worked for 30+ years. This leaves only 18% of responses from those who have worked from 1 – 10 years.

These demographics may have an impact on the data we have gathered. For example, digital technology was raised often. Is this a reflection of the age demographic, where the older highly experienced administrative professional feels they still have much to learn in this area? Or is it an issue for everyone working in our profession regardless of age?

New topics for discussion

The questions on “important issues” provided the following information:

  1. Increase in the use of digital technology: 96% either agreed or strongly agreed with this statement with only 4% disagreeing (note that no-one strongly disagreed)
  2. Not having a clear career progression: 86% either agreed or strongly agreed with this statement with 14% who disagreed or strongly disagreed.
  3. Holding an academic qualification or professional certification: 84% either agreed or strongly agreed with this statement with 16% who disagreed or strongly disagreed.
  4. How our profession is seen – undervalued and/or not respected: 78% of respondents either agreed or strongly agreed with this statement with 22% who disagreed or strongly disagreed.
  5. Unclear or no position description: 74% either agreed or strongly agreed with this statement with 26% who disagreed or strongly disagreed.
  6. Bullying in the workplace: 62% either agreed or strongly agreed with this statement with 38% who disagreed or strongly disagreed.

Existing topics from WASummit 2015

The Advisory Council has teams currently working on researching and gathering data to enable reporting back to the 2018 WASummit Delegates on International Credentialing, International Position Titles and International Networking – “Speaking with one Voice”.

This research into the topics from 2015 will contribute to the following new areas:

  • Not having a clear career progression will develop out of the International Position Titles Team’s work. This Team is led by Judy Geller from the United States with team members from the United States of America, South Africa and Belgium. The work on the International Credentialing Team in the bullet point below will also contribute to this discussion.
  • Holding an academic qualification or professional certification is being looked at under the International Credentialing Team led by Wendy Rapana from New Zealand with team members from South Africa, United States of America, Uganda, Canada and Papua New Guinea. To make sure our results are valid, credible and valuable this huge, complex and challenging topic is unlikely to be completed until the WASummit in 2021. However, if not completed, a report will be delivered at the 2018 WASummit and feedback sought from Delegates on progress.
  • Unclear or no position description – it is likely that this topic will also develop out of the work on Position Titles and the material presented and discussed at the 2018 WASummit will be very useful for this.

The research of the teams on International Credentialing and International Position Titles plus the discussions on not having a clear career progression and unclear or no position descriptions will lead to further research prior to the 2021 WASummit.

Administrative Professionals Development Areas

The graph below shows information from the Survey on areas of development suggested by the Advisory Council for the administrative professional:

The information in this graph shows where administrative professionals around the world feel development is required with strategic knowledge being most important to over 80% of respondents. Leadership, technology and management are clearly the next most important areas for development followed by soft skills, finance and accounting and finally languages at just under 40%.

The survey also asked if there were any additional areas of development, other than those provided, that should be considered. The majority of comments supported the topics provided but some “other” areas of development were noted as required by the administrative professional:

The future of the profession – business partner, changing role requirements Empowering administrators to empower others
Single career certification/qualification (noted in several places using slightly different words) Salary – should be paid what you are worth, what your role entails
Globalisation Not just a girl’s job
Managing difficult situations e.g. terrorism at work Career development generally – many areas including research skills
Mentoring/coaching (upward, sideways, down) Self-care, work/life balance, managing stress
Awareness – educating managers, organisations and other staff of our value and administrative professional themselves Seeking cross country short term work attachments and/or intercountry support through developing assistant communities

 

Both sets of information above (graph and table), together will provide ideas and some guidance to each administrative professional as to what type of professional development they need to be asking for in the future.

You need to build a business case to receive company support for your development or, by recognising the areas where you need to develop, invest in yourself to ensure you have the skills required for your future.

Information in a “Nutshell”

The infographic, which was shared through social media in December 2017, shows the information in this article graphically.

The Advisory Council will use the information gathered in this survey to develop new topics for discussion at the 2018 WASummit. Once finalised, these new topics, will be incorporated into the Agenda for the WASummit and shared on social media, the WASummit website, with all administrative professional associations around the world, and those individuals who have expressed interest and for whom we have contact details.

If you have any questions or wish to be personally included in the information sent out about the WASummit please feel free to contact me at [email protected]. Please provide me with your name, country, email address (preferably your personal email in case you change your work role when we would lose contact with you) and note if you have any links with a professional association.

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About Author

Eth Lloyd

Eth Lloyd, MNZM, worked for 30 years as a Personal Assistant. Her passion for administrative professionals and their value in the workplace is shown by her commitment to encouraging them to value themselves and their roles. In 2018 Eth was awarded the New Zealand Queen’s Birthday honour MNZM for her services to administrative professional development. Eth is the Chairman of the World Administrators Summit Advisory Council and author of The Executive Secretary Guide to Conference and Event Management, available now on Amazon.

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