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The Untapped Potential Of Administrative Professionals

Research Uncovers Non-Traditional Areas Where Support Staff Are Assisting

Administrative professionals are often a manager’s right hand, and new research shows these office superstars would love to help even more at work. Half (50 percent) of support staff surveyed said they have skills that are not being tapped.

The findings are part of Office of the Future, a research project from staffing firm OfficeTeam and the International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP). Visit officeteam.com/ootf to learn more about the study and download How to Hire All-Star Administrative Professionals and Maximize Their Potential, a guide providing tips for companies to recruit support staff and keep them engaged.

Administrative professionals were asked, “To what extent does your current manager utilize your full abilities?” Their responses:

To a great extent — I use my full range of skills


To some extent, but I have some skills that are not being tapped


Not at all – I am completely underutilized



“Administrative professionals often have skills that make them well-suited to help with tasks outside of their conventional roles,” said Robert Hosking, executive director of OfficeTeam. “When support staff take on new projects, companies gain a valuable resource, and workers receive the opportunity to boost their talents and try their hand at new things.”

Four other key findings from the research:

1.    Support staff are organizing soirees and spreadsheets.

  • Administrative workers identified event planning (78 percent) and controlling costs (66 percent) as the top areas they’ve been asked to help with.

2.    Many are ‘getting social.’

  • About three in five (58 percent) senior managers interviewed said administrative staff have assisted in updating company profile information or images on social media.
  • Forty-five percent noted that support personnel have monitored user comments or feedback on these sites.
  • More than half (54 percent) of executives said administrative professionals have helped manage or support the company’s LinkedIn account. Forty-nine percent have received their assistance with Facebook.

3.    They have connections in all the right places.

  • When asked which departments they collaborate with at least once a week, most administrative workers said information technology (79 percent).
  • Many also interact with colleagues in finance and accounting (76 percent) and human resources (66 percent).

4.    Administrative professionals have more influence than you might think.  

  • Most managers (88 percent) stated they value their assistant’s opinion about the job candidates they interview.
  • Nearly half (49 percent) of administrative professionals said they’ve been asked to provide feedback on job applicants based on their interactions in the lobby or on the phone.
  • Forty-four percent have interviewed candidates themselves.

About Office of the Future

This ongoing research project from OfficeTeam and IAAP examines emerging trends affecting administrative professionals. The latest information in this series highlights areas support staff are assisting in beyond their traditional job descriptions to help workers and employers achieve success in a constantly evolving workplace. It includes surveys of 610 senior managers and 2,290 administrative professionals in the United States and Canada.

About OfficeTeam

OfficeTeam, a Robert Half company, is the nation’s leading staffing service specializing in the temporary placement of highly skilled office and administrative support professionals.

About the International Association of Administrative Professionals

The International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP) is the world’s largest association for administrative support staff. IAAP also offers the Certified Administrative Professional (CAP), the only certification for those working in office support professions. With 29 branches and 140 local area networks, the organization helps its members connect, learn, lead and excel. For more information, visit iaap-hq.org.



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