Could the role of the executive assistant (EA) soon become extinct?

In my role at specialist recruitment agency, Lily Shippen, I hope the answer is an emphatic ‘no’ but there’s no disputing that companies continue to automate processes and embrace digital solutions.

But is it really accurate to say that technology is replacing the role of an EA?

At first glance, it may seem that technology has made the EA role obsolete. After all, digital tools can now automate tasks that were once considered the exclusive domain of EAs, such as scheduling appointments, managing inboxes, and setting reminders.

It’s no wonder that some people may believe that EAs are no longer necessary in today’s tech-driven workplace.

However, that assumption couldn’t be further from the truth.  Whilst technology has automated many of the tasks that EAs have traditionally performed, it has not replaced the human skills and value that EAs bring to the table.

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EAs are not just schedulers and gatekeepers; they are strategic partners who help executives make crucial decisions by providing critical insights, analysing data, and managing projects.

Even those duties that can be automated require a level discretion, and interpersonal skills that cannot be replaced by technology alone.

Technology is also only as good as the data it receives. EAs play a critical role in ensuring that the information executives receive is accurate and up-to-date.

They use their judgment, commercial/business acumen, and emotional intelligence to navigate complex interpersonal dynamics and provide valuable advice to their bosses based on this.

In today’s fast-paced business world, executives need trusted partners who can help them make informed decisions. That’s where executive assistants come in. They are the backbone of any successful executive team.

Moreover, technology has also created new opportunities for EAs to enhance their role and take on more strategic responsibilities.

With digital tools that allow for real-time collaboration and communication, EAs can now play a more significant role in managing projects and providing insights that help executives make informed decisions.

A study by IAAP (International Association of Administrative Professionals) found that while 72 per cent of EAs have seen their job duties change due to technology, 78 per cent of them believe that their job is more important now than it was five years ago.

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By embracing technology and leveraging it to their advantage, executive assistants can continue to play a critical role in supporting their organisations’ success.

In conclusion, it’s clear that technology has not replaced the role of an EA. While it may automate some tasks, it cannot replace the human skills that are essential for success in the executive suite.

As businesses continue to evolve, it’s likely that the role of EAs will continue to evolve as well, but one thing is certain: they are not going anywhere anytime soon.