executive assistant smiling - describing the executive assistant salary

Executive Assistant Salary

The term “assistant” opens up a wide umbrella of possibilities. Because of the versatile nature and meanings of the role, assistants can be found in almost any industry. They provide support to all different levels of a business and support one or multiple staff members. Assistants are often the unsung heroes in any business—without assistants, their bosses wouldn’t be able to do everything they need done, and their jobs would be much more stressful for it.

When it comes to executive assistants, then, the stakes are raised even higher. Executive assistants are just as they sound: assistants to company executives. Due to the nature of executive work being crucial for business operations, the role of the executive assistant becomes even more critical. Executive assistants often provide support not only by maintaining office tasks, but by creating reports, channeling correspondence, and a variety of other important tasks that their bosses require them for,

Because of the important nature of their work, executive assistants typically make more than the average assistant. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average executive assistant salary is $59,400, as of May 2017.

The majority of the executive assistant field, just like the assistant field in general, is almost entirely female-dominated. According to data collected by payscale.com, women make up approximately 95% of the executive assistant workforce.

Executive Assistant Duties

discussion between executive assistant and the ceo

The duties of an executive assistant can vary widely depending on what business sector they’re in, but for our purposes. we’ll try to stick to some of the major ones here.

Office Duties

In terms of office duties, executive assistants are similar to office assistants in general. Executive assistants are frequently the front desk face, in charge of meeting and greeting those that walk through the door. They help clients and customers before passing them along to one of the executives they assist, doing as much work as possible beforehand to take it off the executive’s plate.

They also tend to perform more mundane office tasks such as filing and record keeping. An executive assistant will likely oversee the office space, and is therefore in charge of ensuring everything is kept tidy and operations are running smoothly. They also make sure that the office is supplied with everything it needs.


Whether an executive assistant assists just one or several people, they tend to be in charge of managing schedules. Formulating a schedule can include setting meetings with clients, other team members, or other companies, while also making sure that none of these conflict and leave the executives time for their other work. They also frequently schedule business trips, taking care of meetings, flight times, and hotels.

Providing scheduling assistance takes a load off the work of the executives they support, so though this task may seem small it shouldn’t be undervalued.

Company Representation

Along the lines of providing the face of the front office, executive assistants are often responsible for providing positive company representation both directly and indirectly. By providing friendly and helpful customer assistance, executive assistants thus promote a positive public image. They provide the frontlines of communication both in-office and on the phone, so it is important that they make a good first impression for the company.

Executive assistants are also often responsible for interacting with other business professionals, and therefore must provide quality and professional company representation in this aspect as well.


Lady talking on phone

As touched on above, executive assistants provide early company representation because they’re the first line of communication for many trying to get in contact with the company. Channeling communication is another seemingly simple but very important function of an executive assistant, allowing the executives they’re assisting to only have to deal with matters that specifically require their attention and freeing up a lot of work time.

Executive assistants will answer the company phone, respond to emails, and even draft general copy and correspondence in the forms of reminder emails and newsletters. It is therefore important that executive assistants are not only personable, but also have good written communication skills.

Report Preparation

Now we’ll dive a little deeper into tasks that are a bit more geared toward executive assistants specifically. Dealing with company data and forming reports are part of what set executive assistants apart from lower-level assistants. They’ll typically spend time dealing with company databases and analytics, compiling them into reports for the executives they’re supporting so that they have the information they need.

Executive assistants may also create reports on a variety of topics that aren’t directly related to the company’s business data. These may concern competitors, other businesses they intend to meet with, or whatever else the executive might request.

In addition to taking information and synthesizing it into a report for short-term use, executive assistants are also in charge of record keeping to make sure all that information is safely stored and on hand at a moment’s notice.

Holding Confidential Information

Executive assistants work very closely with the executives they support. As a consequence, they sometimes become privy to very sensitive information. This information may concern on-going business deals or even such internal drama as layoffs. Whatever the case, executive assistants are expected to keep this information confidential.

Additional Duties Assigned

Due to the nature of different companies, every executive assistant job is a little different. They may be asked to do a variety of specific tasks at any given time, such as event preparation, media outreach, training other assistants, and more. Executive assistants must, therefore, be very flexible and prepared to work with anything that’s thrown at them.

Job Satisfaction

Most executive assistants find their work very satisfying. They see how their work influences the functioning of the company on a day-to-day basis, and this translates into fulfilling work. Of course, there’s always the risk of working for a less-than-ideal boss, so it’s important for executive assistants to find an environment where they are appreciated and are able to maintain a healthy work-life balance.

What it Takes to Become an Executive Assistant

a lady executive assistant

A bachelor’s degree isn’t always required to become an executive assistant, but it certainly can’t hurt your likelihood of getting a job. Some employers also specifically require a degree. Aside from education, those looking to advance to an executive assistant position should typically have at least three years of working as an assistant in a professional environment.

Necessary skills include excellent oral and written communication, experience with computer programs such as Microsoft Office, good time management, organizational skills, and whatever else a company might request.

Job Market

Unfortunately, with technology increasingly taking over, the assistant positions available are decreasing. While the Bureau of Labor Statistics doesn’t have information for executive assistants specifically in terms of job growth, they expect that assistant positions in general will decrease by 5% between 2016-2026.

So, if you’re looking into becoming an executive assistant, make sure that you have the skills, education, and experience necessary to set you apart from the rest of the applicants looking for increasingly limited positions.

Executive Assistant Salary Range

While the average executive assistant salary is $59,400, the general range of most salaries is from $36,261 to $75,727. This is largely affected not only by location but also by the company they’re working for. A large corporation, for instance, will naturally have more funds allocated to an executive assistant than a smaller business likely will.

Highest Executive Assistant Employment Levels by State

Executive Assistant Employment Levels by State

If you’re intending to go into a profession that it is declining, it’s more important than ever that you’re in a location where more of these positions are available. Listed below are the states with the highest amounts of executive assistants as of May 2017.

Highest Executive Assistant Salaries by State

highest salary as executive assistant

In addition to knowing where you can get hired, of course, you want to know where you should get hired. Here are the top five highest paying states for executive assistants.

Highest Executive Assistant Salaries by Metropolitan Area

Executive assistants salary in metropolitan

Not all the top-paying states house the top-paying cities. Take a look at these metropolitan areas that offer the highest executive assistant salaries.

Final Thoughts on Executive Assistants

Executive assistants bring a lot of valuable skills to the table. They make the jobs of their employers significantly easier, and their work ensures the continued smooth operation of the company. With technology increasingly taking over, however, assistant positions in general are on the decline. Therefore, if you’re looking into becoming an executive assistant, it’s a good job with decent pay, but you should be fully aware of the difficult job market. To make yourself stand out from the crowd, be sure to lead with a confident personality and brush up on your software knowledge.