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Executive Assistant vs. Administrative Assistant: Which to Hire?

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Virtual Assistants (VAs) provide remote support to businesses; they are office administration professionals offering a range of creative or technical services. Most managers with VAs hire them as either administrative assistants (AAs) or executive assistants (EAs). Though you can fill these roles with in-office or in-person staff, you’d greatly benefit from hiring a remote VA, since remote virtual assistants offer plenty of benefits. To hire the best VA for your team, you must know the difference between an executive assistant vs. administrative assistant.

When you have a VA that suits your workflow, you can reduce labor costs, ensure your teams’ productivity, and allow them to focus on the things that matter. When choosing an executive assistant for hire, you can’t go wrong with Wing. Our assistants have English as their first language, are college-educated, and undergo a rigorous testing program. Moreover, they can support businesses in several industries.

Curious about the benefits of getting an executive assistant vs. administrative assistant? Wondering why you should hire Wing VAs? Read on to learn more about both roles, what to look for in an assistant, and how Wing’s services help you get the perfect assistant for your business!

What is an Administrative Assistant?

Most offices have administrative assistants, or at least someone in the company in this role. Typically, they act as office managers, liaisons, bookkeepers, secretaries, and web administrators. However, administrative assistant duties can vary from one business to another.

For example, a law firm might hire a paralegal to become its administrative assistant. It is because paralegals have training and knowledge of the profession. This enables them to handle billing and invoices for lawyer’s clients, prepare court documents, and conduct legal research.

In contrast, an e-commerce company wouldn’t need someone with paralegal training. Instead, they could get an admin assistant for tasks like taking messages, scheduling meetings, recording minutes, handling social media, and sending out memos, among others.

For owners who are hands-on with business development, hiring an administrative assistant is a good option. These professionals are your go-to for laborious but necessary tasks that take you away from projects directly affecting the company’s growth.

What is an Executive Assistant?

If an admin assistant takes on routine tasks, an executive assistant can do a bit more. Besides handling things that you would delegate to an AA, you can count on an EA to make proactive or strategic decisions that can optimize your team’s operations.

For instance, an EA can go beyond scheduling a meeting; they can implement changes so your workdays only revolve around tasks where you can provide the most value. They optimize several calendars at once and are able to audit your entire team’s current workflow and suggest improvements.

Executive assistants can also handle your team’s official correspondence, but they can do more than send and receive emails. You can count on an EA to manage your inbox completely. They can send messages for travel bookings, plan events, and set up appointments.

Executive assistance is also a great option if you’re a busy owner or work at a company with a complex organizational structure. An EA can take some of the decision-making off your hands and allow you to deal with more urgent matters.

Dealing with items you must offload is one of our specialties at Wing. A Wing virtual executive assistant doesn’t operate in a vacuum; besides managing task queues through our app, Wing VAs have managers who supervise their work and run it through regular quality checks. We also have experts on staff from top consulting firms whom clients can consult about optimizing workflows.

Virtual Executive Assistants for Large Organizations

At times, large organizations need EAs who are accessible to multiple senior executives. Often, executives need to coordinate with each other on projects and initiatives. They might even need to collaborate as frequently as they do with their respective teams. However, it can be challenging to manage multiple people’s schedules and accommodate everyone’s agenda. It’s a highly involved process, one that an executive assistant can take on.

Helping multiple executives streamline their workday is something that Wing can serve very easily. Users who sign up for a full-time EA get 2 additional users for free, since this plan can accommodate 3 user accounts. Users who need more colleagues on board can contact their Customer Success Manager for assistance.

Executive Assistant vs. Administrative Assistant: Comparing Duties

So what’s the difference in the services of an administrative assistant vs. executive assistant? Generally speaking, EAs provide high-level support. They are experts in project management, while admin assistants are more like task managers. 

An EA can accomplish tasks similar to what AAs do. They can also help you with strategies related specifically to their role. An EA could suggest action items to help you reach your goals, tools that can help them do the job, and research solutions independently.

When choosing between an executive assistant vs. administrative assistant, ask yourself what your goals are for hiring one. Do you need someone who can proactively identify areas for growth as they take on part of your workload? Alternatively, would you want to direct people toward a particular vision?

Consider as well the expenses related to hiring an EA or an AA. Hiring an assistant isn’t a one-time deal—you need to be sure that the monthly costs are worth it. Besides the salary you pay them, consider other expenses. For instance, you will also spend on software subscriptions needed so your EA can perform their duties well.

Executive Assistant vs. Administrative Assistant Salary

Personal assistants’ rates vary. An entry-level, office administrator’s salary typically starts at $13 per hour in the United States. In contrast, a virtual assistant starts at $11 per hour, with starting salaries varying depending on the location of the assistant.

Meanwhile, a new executive assistant’s salary averages $16 to $34 per hour for standard services, and their rates reach up to $46 per hour. These EAs have experience in industries like finance or web development. Furthermore, some executives pay even higher for assistants who have plenty of experience in the field or have been working with them for a while.

If you’re hiring an assistant for the first time, your options will expand when you consider remote virtual assistance. Many companies offer remote office assistant services on a per-hour basis, charging an average of $38 per hour

It seems like a good deal, except that at this price, you’ll be spending more than $3,000 per month if you want to hire a part-time assistant. Other companies offer lower-priced plans at $449, but with limited inclusions like only having 12 hours of task work per month.

Wing’s part-time plan, which only costs $6.24 per hour, gives you 4 hours of work per day, from Monday to Friday, with a 5-minute response time guarantee. This plan provides access to a dedicated assistant who will complete task queues and whose work goes through regular quality assurance. 

Meanwhile, our full-time plan provides 2 assistants who will be available to do tasks 8 hours a day, from Monday to Friday, with a 3-minute response time guarantee. With 2 people working 8 hours each, it means you’re getting an hourly rate of only $4.68 per assistant!

Executive Assistant vs. Administrative Assistant: Education Requirement

Typically, companies prefer hiring administrative assistants with at least a high school diploma, and executives look for assistants who have Bachelor’s degrees or higher. Some places might prioritize applicants with academic or work experience in a particular field. 

For example, a software development executive would want an assistant with technical knowledge in their industry. So, they would be more likely to hire an EA with experience in computer science or software engineering.

If education is a critical requirement for you, consider hiring from Wing. Our assistants are college-educated and speak English, making them highly adaptable and suited for a range of industries. 

Skills Required for Executive Assistant vs. Administrative Assistant

Besides the cost of hiring a remote office assistant, one of your main concerns would be how they can mesh with your team. Virtual assistants must have skills relevant to the team they’re supporting, but they should also display “soft” skills that allow them to do their jobs better. Generally speaking, all assistants should have the following:

  1. Time management – Often, business owners have various commitments, both inside and outside the company. An assistant should know how to “manage up,” choose which meetings and projects to prioritize, and set up an efficient schedule for business leaders. 
  2. Communication – Both EAs and AAs need to have great interpersonal skills. They must know how to speak with people at different levels of seniority, relate well with them, and clearly convey updates or requests. 
  3. Research – Assistants must know how to retrieve information from different sources, and they should be able to distill what they find into a readily digestible format.
  4. Project management – An AA or an EA must know how to break down large and complex tasks into simpler ones. They must have great attention to detail and keep stakeholders posted on the progress of an initiative.
  5. Problem-solving – Assistants must know how to identify the best course of action given limited data. They should be able to suggest or make adjustments to projects without needing to involve their manager.
  6. Empathy – All EAs and AAs should be empathic. They must understand their boss or client’s needs and transform these into action items.
  7. Adaptability – Finally, an assistant should know how to switch gears when necessary. Businesses can move quickly, and EAs or AAs should keep pace with their client’s changing needs.

Besides the qualities mentioned above, executive assistants should also be good at leadership, conscientiousness, and networking. EAs can act as chiefs of staff, especially for small and medium-sized businesses, and company leaders often rely on them to make decisions on their behalf. When choosing between hiring an executive assistant vs. administrative assistant, besides thinking about “hard” skills you need, it’s crucial to vet talent based on their interpersonal skills.

Hiring a Remote Executive Assistant or Remote Administrative Assistant

When it comes to hiring assistants, you’d want to be sure you’re getting the right person for the job. If you’ve mostly worked in a physical office in the past, your default mindset might be that the best option for you is an in-person assistant. However, getting a remote executive assistant or a remote admin assistant might make your team just as efficient. It all depends on the tasks you need to delegate.

At times, the best person for a task is an in-person assistant. For example, if you need to survey a location for an event, having someone physically onsite would give you a good idea of what the space looks like beyond photos and videos on the internet.

An in-person assistant is also better suited for tasks like picking up merchandise from a store, fetching children from school and bringing them home, or cooking a meal. That said, remote assistants could help you source professionals who can do these things for you.

Remote assistants are your best choice for recurring tasks that require you to go online, such as inbox management, setting virtual appointments, and scheduling social media posts. A remote admin assistant can take care of the above, and other tedious but necessary tasks. 

Meanwhile, hiring a remote executive assistant is a great option if you need someone to take on complex or specialized business support, like managing multiple team members’ calendars, bookkeeping, or supervising projects on your behalf.

Where to Find the Most Qualified Administrative Assistants

If you’re convinced of the pros of hiring a VA and already know the difference between an executive assistant vs. an administrative assistant, your next question would likely be where you can find a qualified AA or EA.

Firstly, you can go to freelancer marketplaces and post an advertisement there. An advantage of finding a remote admin assistant through a freelancer platform is that you’ll get plenty of responses. 

However, it’s a double-edged sword; you’ll have to sift through dozens of applications before finding the best one. Posting to role-specific boards ensures that you have a somewhat qualified pool of applicants. It could take you longer to get responses, though.

How to Hire a Remote Administrative Assistant

Time isn’t a luxury that many businesses have. Instead of hiring a remote administrative assistant yourself, you can turn to Wing. We have a rigorous screening and training process for the assistants we onboard, and we ensure that they have the work environment they need to do top-notch work.

Where to find Executive Assistants for Hire

Finding a great executive assistant for hire is even more challenging since they’ll need to have extensive industry knowledge as well as managerial skills. Most people who fit the bill will be employed or have long-term contracts. 

You could try posting to office support job boards, like how you would for an AA. Note, though, that results will vary greatly. Finding someone with the right mix of skills would need more time and effort than most business owners or managers would likely have.

 How to Hire an Executive Assistant with Wing

Instead of spending days and weeks screening potential EAs, hire Wing. One of our priorities is providing top-notch service, and our remote assistants always go above and beyond to help our clients.

Besides having managed and trained remote assistants, Wing customers can leverage the company’s experts. We have former consultants from top consulting firms like McKinsey, SAP, and Deloitte, with whom our clients can book sessions for free.

Wing Assistants – Managed, Trained, Dedicated Assistants at Industry-best Prices

Time is the most valuable resource for managers and business owners. If you’re in upper or middle management, having an assistant will make you very efficient. A good VA can handle everything for you, from scheduling and individual tasks to communications and entire projects, helping you cover more bases than you could on your own.

Do things that matter and delegate your busy work to Wing. Our dedicated and managed human assistants go through a rigorous screening and training process to ensure that they can provide a level of service comparable to in-house support staff. Let’s talk about why Wing is perfect for you and why you should get started with us today!

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