PAs (personal assistants) are revealed to be their bosses’ most trusted confidants, according to a survey conducted on behalf of FedEx Express, a subsidiary of FedEx Corp. Overall, 64% of those questioned said they believed that their bosses would trust them over a senior colleague.
The survey of over 220 UK based PAs revealed that PAs are often the most knowledgeable people within a business, as 90% of respondents said that they were privy to important company information. This combined with the fact that 97% say that they have access to their bosses’ diary, 85% to their emails and 80% to their credit cards puts PAs in a trusted position.
PAs handle and manage service providers, whether it is IT, travel or stationary suppliers, with 77% of respondents liaising with or hiring between 0-5 suppliers a week. PAs also felt trusted by their bosses to make the final decisions when liaising with these suppliers (57%).
However, despite PAs having access to important information about their organization, and establishing their own role, only 59% of those surveyed felt that they were in a position of power within their company.
“PAs have firmly established themselves as forces of business, playing an integral part in the success of a company. You may think hiring a cleaning company, printer supplier or courier is relatively small scale on the face of things, but these are the decisions which keep smaller and larger businesses running. The trickle effect of one hire potentially reaches hundreds of people,” says William Martin, managing director, UK Operations, FedEx Express.
The responsibility of PAs doesn’t stop there—90% of PAs surveyed control meeting schedules, 86% control travel and 61% are in control of the entertainment of clients, enforcing a PA’s ‘gatekeeper’ reputation.
A PA tends to have a very close working relationship with their boss and as such have the opportunity to create their role to a certain extent; therefore it is not surprising to learn that 67% of PAs surveyed felt that they trained their boss rather than the other way round.
“PAs play an integral role in a company and it is important to realize the contribution that they make both behind the scenes and in a client facing capacity,” Martin said.