Executive Assistant vs. Administrative Assistant: Trouble-Free Hiring [Our Complete Guide for 2024]

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Executive assistant vs. administrative assistant—which one to hire? And what is the difference between an administrative assistant and an executive assistant? Simply put, an administrative assistant is a support staffer handling time-consuming but essential tasks for teams or managers. Meanwhile, an executive assistant is a professional serving the administrative needs of C-suite executives or middle managers.

Both types of assistants can be VAs, or virtual assistants. A virtual assistant is an office administration professional working remotely and offering a range of creative or technical services. To hire the best VA for your team, you must know the difference between an executive assistant vs. administrative assistant.

A VA that suits your workflow reduces labor costs, ensures your teams’ productivity, and allows them to focus on the things that matter. And when looking for an administrative or executive assistant for hire, choose  Wing. Our assistants speak English, are college-educated, and undergo a rigorous testing program. Moreover, they can support businesses in several industries.

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?

An administrative assistant is a support staffer handling time-consuming but essential tasks for teams or managers.

Duties of an administrative assistant include:

  • Responding to emails
  • Organizing inboxes
  • Recording meeting minutes
  • Updating schedules/calendars
  • Making or confirming appointments
  • Scheduling reservations
  • Planning itineraries
  • Maintaining accurate records
  • Tracking expenses & invoices
  • Collecting information in a CRM tool
  • Ordering products & supplies
  • Attending/routing calls as directed

Administrative Assistant Duties Vary Depending on the Company

 Most offices have admin 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. Here are some examples:

Example 1: Admin Assistant at a Medical Practice

A medical practice might hire a virtual administrative assistant for office management. In this context, an admin assistant would likely handle the practice’s patient visits, making, confirming, or rescheduling appointments as needed. They might also organize email inboxes, draft emails, proofread documents, order office supplies, and other general support tasks. 

Example 2: Admin Assistant at an Investment Firm

In contrast, a partner at an investment firm might get an administrative assistant to handle basic bookkeeping. Tasks like preparing invoices, reconciling records, tracking expenses, and organizing record databases are all possible use cases. But they may also be asked to handle more common tasks like organizing inboxes, proofreading documents, etc.

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.

Should I Hire an Administrative Assistant?

Hire an administrative assistant if you are a founder or entrepreneur who wants to focus on business development. Virtual admin assistants are the perfect professionals to handle  laborious but necessary tasks that take you away from projects directly affecting the company’s growth.

You could also hire an administrative assistant if you are a team manager looking to delegate routine but essential tasks so you can free up your team for higher-level initiatives.

What is an Executive Assistant?

An executive assistant is a professional that caters to the administrative needs of C-suite executives or middle managers.

If an admin assistant takes on routine tasks, an executive assistant can do a bit more. An executive assistant can handle tasks you would assign to a general virtual assistant, but you can also count on them to make strategic decisions to optimize your team’s operations. Duties of an executive assistant include:

  • Coordinating complex schedules
  • Maintaining team calendars
  • Storing & organizing files
  • Transcribing audio recordings
  • Compiling lead lists
  • Preparing payroll information
  • Monitoring projects
  • Handling Internal communication
  • Draft email templates
  • Conduct informational inquiries
  • Gather data on industry trends
  • Organizing company data

An EA can go beyond scheduling a meeting; they will 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 also handle your team’s official correspondence, but they do more than send and receive emails. You can count on an EA to manage your inbox completely. They will send messages for travel bookings, plan events, and set up appointments.

Should I Hire an Executive Assistant?

Hire an executive assistant if you are a business owner with a complex schedule. An executive assistant is also a good option for C-level managers with plenty of tasks that require direct input. An EA can handle day-to-day operations and office management, leaving C-suite executives to deal with high-level and 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.

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.

Questions to Ask When Deciding What Type of Assistant to Hire

When choosing between an executive assistant vs. administrative assistant, ask yourself what your goals are for hiring one. Here are some questions to ask: 

  1. Do I need someone who will function as a “second set of eyes?”
  2. Should my assistant be able to  proactively identify areas for growth?
  3. Do I need someone who will handle routine tasks and implement processes I already have in place?
  4. What skills do I need my assistant to already have?
  5. What are the costs of hiring a virtual EA versus an admin assistant? 

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 $13.80 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 $35 per hour for standard services, and their rates reach up to $48.80 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 $1,199 per month, gives you 4 hours of work per day, from Monday to Friday. Meanwhile, our full-time plan costs $1,999 per month and provides an assistant who will be available to do tasks 8 hours a day, from Monday to Friday. Both plans provide access to a dedicated assistant who will complete task queues and whose work goes through regular quality assurance.

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.

An in-person assistant is your best option if:

  • You need to survey a venue or location for an in-person event
  • You require the assistant to personally pick up merchandise from a store
  • You would like the assistant to fetch your children and bring them home
  • You need someone to prepare home-cooked meals 

It’s important to note that these are often one-off tasks or ones that don’t require work for 8 hours a day. 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, like inbox management, setting virtual appointments, and scheduling social media posts 
  • 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 freelance 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.

All you need to do is hop on a planning call and let us know your requirements. Then, our team will find an assistant that suits your unique needs. Leave it all to us!

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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