Admin Staff a Secret Weapon for Employers

March 31, 2010 ( - New research shows administrative professionals are moving beyond their traditional roles to take on responsibilities in areas such as cost control, technology and the use of social media, hiring, and corporate social responsibility.

The study developed by OfficeTeam and the International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP) found half of managers indicated that support staff play a role in helping their firms reduce spending. Administrative professionals are frequently involved in identifying costly inefficiencies, streamlining procedures and negotiating with vendors, according to a press release.      

Nearly one-third (32%) of supervisors said they have turned to administrative personnel for help with technology. Forty-four percent of support staff use social media for professional reasons, but only 22% promote their companies’ products or services with these tools.       

Sixty-three percent of administrative professionals have assisted in hiring other support staff at their firms. Of those, 42% have interviewed job candidates, 38% wrote or updated job descriptions, 38% screened resumes, and 23% posted employment ads.       

More than half (55%) of administrative professionals have managed volunteer activities for their employers, and 47% have coordinated fundraisers for nonprofit organizations at work. In addition, 30% have been tapped to assist with environmental initiatives.      

The study also revealed more than eight in 10 (83%) administrative team members said they’ve taken courses in accounting, budgeting, purchasing, and negotiation when offered. Ninety-four percent reported that these classes have helped them be more cost-effective at work.       

Although about half (51%) of support professionals said their employers do not provide leadership training to administrative staff, nearly all of them (96%) said they would find these courses valuable if available.        

“Administrative professionals are doing more than ever to help companies cope with business challenges, playing an instrumental role in their organizations’ recovery and growth efforts,” said OfficeTeam executive director Robert Hosking, in the press release. “Managers may be overlooking a valuable resource if they aren’t tapping support staff to take on new projects.”      

The study includes responses from 4,415 administrative professionals and 502 managers in the United States and Canada. The full survey results are featured in Your Secret to Success: Today’s Super Admin, a research guide available at