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Personal Assistant

by Staff Reporter
If you’re organised by nature and enjoy connecting with people then a career as a Personal Assistant could be for you.

Career Overview

As a Personal Assistant (PA), you work closely with directors, or managerial staff, depending on where you choose to work. You will manage secretarial duties, administrative support and whoever you assist, you’ll need to keep their work the right way up. You will liaise with others in the organisation and externally. Becoming a PA can be rewarding as you assist high capacity people.

Required School Subjects

You will need to have taken the following subjects at high school:

  • English (Home Language or First Additional Language)
  • Pure Mathematics or Mathematical Literacy

Recommended subjects:

  • Business Studies

Institution and APS

The following institutions are highly recommended for further studies:

  • False Bay College – No specific APS required
  • College SA – No specific APS required
  • Oxbridge Academy – No specific APS required

Required Qualification/s

To become a Personal Assistant, you need to study administration, or one of the multiple secretarial or administrative courses available at some of our leading institutions in South Africa. A degree is not 100% necessary, but might be helpful.

Required Skills

You will need to have the following skills to succeed as a Personal Assistant:

  • an ability to work with people
  • practicality
  • efficient
  • extremely organised
  • research
  • strong communication skills
  • problem solving
  • networking
  • IT proficiency
  • adaptability
  • time management 
  • interpersonal skills
  • attention to detail
  • multi-tasker
  • self-motivated

Where you can work

As a Personal Assistant, you will be able to work in one of the following areas:

  • Education
  • Finance
  • Accounting 
  • Directors of small and large organisations
  • Managerial staff of small and large organisations
  • Government departments
  • Retail
  • Property

Working Hours

Regular working hours would be between 40 – 45 hours per week but if your projects are highly demanding, you may be required to work overtime on any given day. It really depends on your projects.

Expected Salary

The average salary per year in South Africa as a Personal Assistant, according to PayScale, is around R138 302 with an hourly rate of about R32.50

What to expect

Here are a few things you can expect from a career as a Personal Assistant:

  • Expect to gain a thorough knowledge of the organisation you work for on behalf of the manager or director you are assisting. 
  • Expect to set up and manage workflow systems for someone.
  • Expect to navigate and problem solve on behalf of your boss, including secretarial duties like screening communications, answering phone calls and making appointments. 
  • Expect to supervise office staff and attend regular meetings, and take minutes at meetings. 
  • Expect to carry out research and present your conclusions to your superiors. 
  • Connect with other people inside and outside of the company you work for. 
  • You may be expected to organise team or company events and team-builders.

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