While many Senior PA positions involve working relatively normal working hours in an office or corporate environment, there are those positions where the PA is required to support and operate at the very highest level. This requires a specific type of candidate with a specialist skill set that is able to commit fully to their role and go above and beyond when required. Attic Recruitment take a look at what is required of the Senior PA when working at the very top level:
The kind of employers that require committed and flexible PAs
Unlike the corporate environment, where most of the work is office based, there are those roles which require a lot more from an individual. This could include travel on the part of the employer and their support team. Famous actors, sports stars, musicians, politicians, heads of state and other dignitaries are the sort of employers that would expect a very flexible and committed PA. In fact, that PA role becomes more of a lifestyle manager when, as well as managing commitments, it is also important to be able to manage hotel bookings and the set-up of a room or facilities, travel arrangements, luggage, pet care, childcare and much more. It can also be reasonable to expect this person to manage other members of the team as well including housekeepers, butlers etc. in addition to liaising with hotel concierge and staff to ensure that everything is as it should be.
While the senior PA often has commitments outside of work, like a partner or children, a PA who is required to support at the very highest level should be able to do so without any commitments. This type of role often requires international travel, sometimes at very little notice. They may be required to travel with their employer, or in advance of them to prepare things before their arrival. While it is a huge commitment to undertake, it is also a highly rewarding role with the chance to see the world and experience great things.
Duties which go above and beyond
Packing suitcases, pressing clothes, arranging for laundry to be undertaken and setting up rooms/accommodations are all expectations of the PA that is travelling with a very senior employer. This may involve travelling ahead and ensuring that everything is ready for their arrival or even scoping out accommodation to ensure that it is suitable. Some PA’s are actually responsible for the pets of their employer and are required to ensure that all of their needs are met including travelling with them to the destination.
Key skills to possess
Diplomacy, empathy, confidentiality, discretion, tolerance… these are just some of the critical skills required of a high-level PA. Often, they will be required to handle very sensitive information and to observe the strictest confidentiality. In addition to these skills, he or she should be flexible and adaptable with a very presentable appearance and a friendly, approachable manner. Tolerance of such high demands and expectations are also crucial for anyone considering this type of role.
A demanding role with great rewards
Such a demanding and responsible role is hard work and requires a high level of support and commitment. While it demands flexibility and times when you have to drop any plans that you might have, the rewards are often more than worth it. With a good salary, health benefits, use of cars, time off in lieu and generous holidays, not forgetting a chance to see places you would never normally see, for many it is the dream job.