What does a personal assistant do?

A personal assistant (PA) typically performs many roles to help individuals in their homes or an organization. He/she frees the manager's time from administrative duties so that the manager is able to maximize time on strategic tasks. The personal assistant acts as the first point of contact by answering phone calls and dealing with correspondence. Their responsibilities differ depending on the industry that they work in. 

Other duties of a personal assistant

As a PA in an organizational setting, you will remind your manager of important tasks and deadlines and hold other responsibilities such as managing filing systems and databases. You will also organize events and conferences. In some organizations, the personal assistant accompanies managers on business trips. You manage diaries, organize appointments/meetings, and take minutes in meetings. A PA runs errands, takes notes, and responds to correspondence on behalf of the manager. There are some PAs who work in homes performing the same assistance duties for the homeowner. In this case, however, you have additional roles like:

• Meal preparation

• Running errands

• Grocery shopping

• Housekeeping

• Pet care

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What is the average salary of a personal assistant?

The salary of a personal assistant will vary widely depending on various factors such as industry, education, and additional skills. On average, a personal assistant in the USA earns $47,084 per year, which translates to about $20 per hour. Entry-level positions begin at $25,350 per year, and the most experienced PAs make up to $68.227 annually. The salary scale also depends on the location and company size, as there are some states where it is as low as $10,000 or as high as $250,000 per year.



Working as a personal assistant

Working as a PA is an interesting position as you will be handling issues that directly involve the management of an organization. You could also be working for a wealthy family or individual such as a celebrity and be responsible for maintaining the personal life or home of your boss. Having such a one-on-one work relationship gives you access to vital information regarding the person you are working for. You will carry out a wide variety of tasks listed in the responsibilities below.

What are the responsibilities of a personal assistant?

The role of a personal assistant is to handle the daily tasks that are important in keeping the office or home functioning properly. You work on behalf of an individual, thus freeing up the individual's time from doing administrative duties so that they are able to concentrate on other managerial tasks. A PA requires a deep understanding of the company, individual, or family and knows who the key personnel is when they work for their boss. A PA handles various vital roles such as:

  • Acting as the point of contact between your boss and clients
  • Controlling access to the manager
  • Screening/directing phone calls and managing correspondence
  • Handling queries and requests appropriately
  • Reminding your boss of important tasks and deadlines
  • Managing the diary, scheduling meetings, and setting appointments
  • Making travel arrangements, transport, and accommodation
  • Taking minutes and dictation
  • Typing, compiling reports, correspondence, and presentations
  • Liaising with suppliers, clients, and staff
  • Maintaining the office filing system and database
  • Conducting research for your boss

What type of equipment do personal assistants use?

A personal assistant is a very busy person, and staying on top of information, calendars, and deadlines is important. The equipment that you require to do this includes a car, laptop, and cellphone, but most of all, you require the right tools to perform your tasks. As a PA, being tech-savvy is necessary as most of what you will be using to perform your tasks is software. Some of the software that will make the life of a PA a lot easier includes:

  • Microsoft Office – This helps to perform administrative tasks like word processing, building visual presentations, and filling out spreadsheets.
  • Google Workspace – It helps a PA to perform administrative tasks just like Microsoft Office but includes Gmail, Calendar, and Drive as an addition. It also includes Google Meet. Your work will be stored in the cloud. 
  • Zoom – This tool provides a cloud-based video conferencing service that is fast and easy to use. The free plan allows up to 100 participants. 
  • TravelPerk – This is a travel and expense management tool that helps to plan, manage, and report business trips in one place.
  • Expensify – This is an expense management tool that allows you to scan and reconcile receipts. 
  • Calendly – This tool allows you to send a link where the recipient is able to see the available time and book an appointment on a date and time that best suits them.

What is the work environment of a personal assistant?

Personal assistants usually work in an office environment, but you sometimes travel with your boss to attend events and meetings. However, some PAs work remotely as virtual assistants, connecting with an employer via phone and the internet. You typically work regular business hours but may work overtime to complete some tasks or provide support during business trips.

Who are your colleagues as a personal assistant?

Personal assistants are ultimate team players as they work with virtually everyone that answers to their boss. Like administrative assistants for instance. However, one person you will sometimes work closely with is the accountant since they handle the expenses of their boss. As a PA you will handle travel and event organizing, which always requires funds.

What is the work schedule of a personal assistant?

As a PA, you typically work in an office setting and act as the first point of contact between your boss and clients or other employees. When working in an office, you will perform your duties during normal business hours for five or six days a week. In your day-to-day tasks, you answer phone calls, deal with correspondence, and schedule appointments. You also control access to your boss and arrange for travel, accommodation, and transport. Your daily role is meant to keep the individual you are working for organized and on schedule.


What is the career outlook for a personal assistant?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of PAs will decline by 7% between 2020 and 2030. However, despite the declining employment, the BLS also estimates that roughly 400,000 openings for PAs will be available each year in the coming decade. These openings will be due to the need to replace workers who transfer to other jobs or retire. Job prospects for PAs are still good, as there will always be the need for good workers in this field despite the projected decline. Read more about the way administrative roles are changing

Advancing as a personal assistant

The world is getting busier, and PAs come in as lifesavers to accomplish various assignments and errands daily to keep employers on top of things. A PA has the ability to progress to become an executive assistant, working with the top executives of an organization. Although the salary will increase, so will the responsibilities and the hours of work. 

What are the advantages of working with Spherion as a personal assistant?

Whether you are seriously looking for a job or just checking what's in the job market, Spherion is the right place to base your quest. Spherion will help you with your search for employment by matching you with a personal assistant job that matches your skills. As one of the leading staffing companies, Spherion has connections with a wide range of businesses. The Spherion team offers plenty of networking opportunities to help you find the right office for your work style. Whether you prefer to work for a family, business, or a major company, Spherion has plenty of options for you. Working via Spherion offers you many advantages. For example:

  • Weekly pay
  • Flexibility
  • A contact person available to ask for help
  • A lot of training opportunities
  • A range of jobs in your area                
  • A personal contact person to assist you with your job search
  • Training opportunities for gaining more advanced personal assistant skills
  • Flexible scheduling options
  • Quick and seamless interviewing process

What education do you need as a personal assistant?

There are no standard educational requirements for a PA job, and a high school diploma or GED is often sufficient. However, some employers require that you have a bachelor’s degree in business administration. Additionally, some employers require education in communications or another relevant field. These disciplines will help you build the necessary skills for the job. Those with post-high school degrees have a better chance of pursuing higher-paying personal assistant jobs. 

Skills & Competencies

The skills that you will require to advance as a personal assistant include:

  • Experience in working as a PA
  • Discretion and trustworthiness
  • Computer literacy
  • Flexibility and adaptability
  • Efficiency 
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills
  • Professional discretion
  • Organizational skills
  • Time management skills
  • Multitasking
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Proactivity and initiative-taking
  • Tact and diplomacy


As a personal assistant, you manage many important tasks for the individual(s) you serve. The answers to the following frequently asked questions will help you learn more about this role. 

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