Administrative assistants or delegate to employees?

If you work in a big corporation, you may be noticing the administrative assistants disappearing. It’s a so-called strategy to reduce costs and blah blah blah. I don’t agree with this. Let’s say an admin makes $30K/year and an employee or manager makes $100K/year (assuming this is in the tech industry). Does it make sense to push more work to highly paid employees than to consolidate or rather have someone specialize in doing the administrative work? For some reason it doesn’t make sense to me. On the other hand, I guess some can argue that employees have extra time on their hands to do the administrative work OR that it is more efficient for employees to do the work themselves rather than going through the process of telling someone else how to do the work.

When I worked in Computer Science research, there was a user-focused systems group that would use me as a guinea pig. They would watch me work and see how I would use productivity tools and so forth. Why not observe employees to see how much time is spent doing administrative work over “real” work? Maybe that would convince the executives to not get rid of administrative assistants. In any case, it is what it is. The profits are being made quarter after quarter, but eventually productivity will suffer in the long-term. Those are my thoughts and I’m sticking to it!

Sophia Perl

Sophia Perl is a product manager for a database tool at IBM. She has over 10 years of software development and management experience. Sophia holds a BS in Computer Science from University of Southern California and an MBA from University of California at Davis. She is the creator of iPhone apps PicPredict and Eventabulous.

3 thoughts on “Administrative assistants or delegate to employees?

  1. The question is what is the best way to measure the real value. I think that is the problem. It is easier to assume no value than any value.

  2. AA’s do NOT cost only $30K/yr. They cost a lot more, if they are capable of doing anything. In fact, I think the trend you are seeing goes like this:

    Regular things, like typing, or even scheduling meetings, have become so easy now, that they only take seconds and professionals do them for themselves. Those things that they would really like help with now require more skill, meaning that the AA would have to be paid $75K/yr. On top of that, an AA still takes up 1 desk, 1 phone line, 1 parking space, etc… so the total cost to the first of the good AA is $150K and for the regular employee is $200K ($100K salary).

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