Personal Assistant or Project Assistant – are they becoming the same thing?

Posted on Wednesday, October 26, 2022 by Guest BloggerNo comments

Not too long ago, there was a clear distinction between the role of a Personal Assistant and that of a Project Assistant. The PA served the individual executive and the Project Assistant served the project. Increasingly, there’s greater overlap between these roles. Indeed, many PA jobs in London now specifically incorporate project assistance. So, we chatted to people in the roles to find out more.

From PA to taking on projects

AJ told us, “When I started my career, I was strictly a PA. As time has gone on, and particularly with the advance of technology, my roles now always involve some degree of project assistance. There are multiple reasons for this. At one time, a lot of my day would be taken up doing things which have now been made much easier through technology – it’s either more efficient for my executive to do them herself or I can get through them quickly. Alongside this, more is expected of my executive in terms of the projects she takes on. So, naturally, as her assistant, I have ended up helping more with the projects side of things.”

What does a Project Assistant/PA actually do?

“When the roles morph together, you can see how the two go hand in hand,” says Christiane. “I’m there to provide support and I do this on projects by preparing various documents. I monitor projects and track them across the team, acting as the central point for coordination. It makes clear sense that I take on the admin tasks that the project generates. There are now so many more admin tasks generated by projects than ever before.

There are more jobs advertised as a hybrid blend

Rachel told us, “I’ve noticed that increasingly PA jobs in the corporate sector are increasingly advertised as PA/Project Assistant. Even when a job is listed as strictly a PA role, when you dig into the job description you find that actually there’s a strong focus on project work. Realistically, the strict PA role doesn’t really exist as it once did. If you want to be a PA, you need to expect to be helping out with projects.”

Career progression

Sue explained, “I think this blending of the roles is actually very good for career progression. At my company, it’s very common for the PA role to be the entry position and then with experience you move into Projects Assistance and then this can lead to opportunities in Project Management. Indeed, I am aware that our executive team develop PAs specifically to move into projects full time. Being a PA is a really good way to learn the character and expectations of the organisation from the top and this then creates exceptionally good project assistants.

Are you interested in PA and Project Assistant jobs in London?

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