Administrative Assistants

(NOC 1241)

in All Business, Finance, and Administration

Administrative assistants do a variety of administrative duties to support managerial and professional employers. They work throughout the private and public sectors.

Job Outlook

Average

Read more

  • Estimate Stable employment change, 2019-2021
  • Estimate 270 openings due to growth and retirements, 2018-2020
  • Estimate Moderate rate of unemployment in 2019

Compared to: All Business, Finance, and Administration

  • Estimate -1305 employment change, 2019-2021
  • Estimate 4210 openings due to growth and retirements, 2018-2020
  • Estimate rate of unemployment not available for these occupation.

A moderate number of administrative assistants were laid off in March and April due the temporary closures of certain types of business. Many have since been rehired. Workers in this occupation are spread across several different industries, some of which may have been affected more than others by COVID-19. Those in educational services and retail trade were more likely to experience layoffs than those in industries that continued to operate throughout the first wave of cases. With the increase of virtual communication, sanitization, and occupancy restrictions due the pandemic, many administrative assistants have experienced a change in work tasks.

Total employment in this occupation has been relatively stable in recent years. Looking forward, neither a large increase nor decrease is expected. Improvements in administrative software and other technological advancements have reduced the need for administrative assistants in some settings. Vacancies created by retirements are a main source of opportunities. Presently, there are many qualified jobseekers for vacancies in this occupation. Successful job applicants are likely to be distinguished by amount of experience or industry-specific skills.

The median employment income for the 52% of Administrative Assistants who worked full-time, year-round in 2015 was $40,076. Across all occupations in Nova Scotia, the 59% of those who worked full-time, year-round had a median employment income of $43,600. (Source: 2016 Census)

Hourly Pay

$14.00

Minimum

$21.00

Median

$27.95

Maximum

Annual Pay

$8,517

Minimum

$34,236

Median

$52,509

Maximum

Compared to: All Business, Finance, and Administration

Hourly Pay

$14.00

Minimum

$27.85

Median

$38.46

Maximum

Annual Pay

$6,754

Minimum

$36,515

Median

$70,271

Maximum

About the job

Nature of work

Administrative assistants do a variety of administrative duties to support managerial and professional employers. They work throughout the private and public sectors.

Job duties

Administrative assistants:

  • Prepare, key in, edit and proofread correspondence, invoices, presentations, brochures, publications, reports and related material from machine dictation and handwritten copy.
  • Open and distribute incoming regular and electronic mail and other material and coordinate the flow of information internally and with other departments and organizations.
  • Schedule and confirm appointments and meetings of employer.
  • Order office supplies and maintain inventory.
  • Answer telephone and electronic questions and relay telephone calls and messages.
  • Set up and maintain manual and computerized information filing systems.
  • Determine and create office procedures.
  • Greet visitors, learn their nature of business, and direct visitors to employer or appropriate person.
  • Record and prepare minutes of meetings.
  • Arrange travel schedules and make reservations.
  • May compile data, statistics and other information to support research activities.
  • May supervise and train office staff in procedures and in use of current software.
  • May organize conferences.

Sample job titles

  • administrative assistant
  • executive secretary (except legal and medical)
  • office administrative assistant
  • personal secretary
  • school secretary
  • secretary (except legal and medical)
  • secretary-clerk
  • taxation service secretary
  • technical secretary

Skills

You need excellent grammar and communication skills. Accurate and fast typing speed is essential. You should have a working knowledge of computers, word processing software, and general office equipment. Interpersonal skills and the ability to work with others are important.

Job requirements

  • High school is usually required.
  • A one- or two-year college or other program for administrative assistants or secretaries or clerical experience is required.

Other considerations

Computer use has drastically changed this occupation in recent years as many executives and professionals create their own documents and use e-mail as a primary mode of written communication. This has reduced the type of work traditionally done by secretaries. Some secretarial positions are being converted to office manager positions and more specialized clerical roles. It is increasingly common for secretaries to support teams rather than individuals. Working in these jobs may cause back and neck strain due to sitting for long periods of time, as well as eye strain from computer screens.

By the numbers

Quick look

5,965

employed in 2016

77.6%

employed full-time

4.4%

self employed

97.2%
Icons/female Created with Sketch.
2.8%
Icons/male Created with Sketch.
49.9

median age

Compared to: All Business, Finance, and Administration

63,775

employed in 2016

78.4%

employed full-time

6.6%

self employed

73.4%
Icons/female Created with Sketch.
26.6%
Icons/male Created with Sketch.
47.9

median age

Where will I likely work?

48.4%

Halifax

14.8%

North Shore

13.1%

Annapolis Valley

12.4%

Southern

11.2%

Cape Breton

Compared to: All NS Occupations

47.0%

Halifax

15.6%

North Shore

12.9%

Annapolis Valley

12.7%

Cape Breton

11.8%

Southern

Top Industries of Employment

22.8%

Educational services

19.7%

Public administration

7.5%

Professional, scientific and technical services

6.8%

Other services (except public administration)

6.4%

Finance and insurance

What is the age of Employment?

30.0%

45-54

26.0%

55-64

19.0%

35-44

14.0%

25-34

7.0%

65+

4.0%

15-24

Compared to: All Business, Finance, and Administration

26.3%

45-54

22.6%

55-64

19.4%

35-44

16.7%

25-34

7.5%

65+

Top levels of education

48.7%

College Diploma

$35,038 median annual income
21.1%

High school

$33,259 median annual income
15.4%

Bachelor

$33,219 median annual income
6.5%

Apprenticeship

$27,938 median annual income
3.3%

Less than high school

$28,576 median annual income

Compared to: All Business, Finance, and Administration

33.8%

College Diploma

$36,304 median annual income
23.8%

High school

$32,903 median annual income
22.8%

Bachelor

$41,755 median annual income
5.8%

Apprenticeship

$34,807 median annual income
4.9%

Less than high school

$23,174 median annual income

Education & training

Administrative Assistant and Secretarial Science

College, Trades, or University Program

These programs prepare students for the duties of administrative assistants and/or secretaries and stenographers. They include courses in business communications, principles of business law, word processing and data entry, office machines operation and maintenance, office procedures, public relations, secretarial accounting, filing systems and records management, and report preparation.

Institutions providing this program

CBBC Career College Inc. - Sydney Campus

Sydney, NS

Eastern College - Halifax

Halifax, NS

Academy of Learning Career College - Halifax

Halifax, NS

Island Career Academy

Sydney, NS

Centre for Distance Education

Sydney, NS

Universite Sainte-Anne

Pointe-de-l'Église, NS

Nova Scotia Community College - Cumberland Campus

Springhill, NS

Nova Scotia Community College - Burridge Campus

Yarmouth, NS

Nova Scotia Community College - Kingstec Campus

Kentville, NS

Nova Scotia Community College - Pictou Campus & School of Fisheries

Stellarton, NS

Nova Scotia Community College - Strait Area Campus & Nautical Institute

Port Hawkesbury, NS

Nova Scotia Community College - Marconi Campus

Sydney, NS

Nova Scotia Community College - Ivany Campus

Dartmouth, NS

Nova Scotia Community College - Online Learning

Various, NS

CBBC Career College Inc. - Dartmouth Campus

Dartmouth, NS

Adult High School Siploma or Equivalent

High School Program

The Nova Scotia School for Adult Learning (NSSAL) administers, coordinates, and supports the development and delivery of adult education programs through learning partners in Nova Scotia. Our learning partners include the Nova Scotia Community College, Adult High Schools, Université Sainte-Anne, and community-based learning organizations that offer tuition-free programming across the province. NSSAL offers clear, accessible pathways from adult basic education to a high school credential or GED, empowering Nova Scotians to achieve their learning and employment goals.

Institutions providing this program

Universite Sainte-Anne

Pointe-de-l'Église, NS

Nova Scotia Community College - Adult Learning

Various, NS

Adult High Schools

Various, NS

Community Learning Organizations

Various, NS

Employment requirements & contacts

No regulating bodies were found under this occupation profile

Contacts

Association of Administrative Professionals
Halifax, NS

Additional resources

There are no additional resources for this occupation.