Education, Training Top List of Gifts for Secretaries Day
Flowers? Candy? Lunch at a nice restaurant?
None of the above, says Candace Louis, spokeswoman for Kansas City-based Professional Secretaries International, the world's largest secretarial association with 42,000 members.
``We suggest education and training for secretaries,'' she said. ``Send your secretary to a seminar or symposium. Buy your secretary a subscription to a professional publication.''
Gifts of candy or flowers are superficial, but broadening a secretary's business knowledge and skills benefit both the employee and the company in the long run, Louis says.
What about honoring the nation's 4 million secretaries with raises?
``Certainly I feel very strongly that secretaries should be compensated for the contributions they make to any business or organization,'' said Adella C. LaRue, president of the organization. ``Secretaries Week would be an ideal time to give a raise or a bonus.''
Professional Secretaries Day is part of Professional Secretaries Week, April 19-25. The U.S. secretary of commerce proclaimed the first such week in 1952.
Studies by Professional Secretaries International, founded 35 years ago, show that management's perception of the role of secretaries is changing as companies restructure and become leaner for economic reasons.
Increasingly, secretaries are viewed as an integral part of office management, forming a team with executives, and are assuming more middle management and supervisory duties.
``Technology has freed the secretary from spending a lot of time on the lower level skills of typing and shorthand,'' LaRue said. ``They are doing things more managerial in nature. Secretaries also are leaders in learning how to use and master computers and other office equipment. They're taking on greater roles in meeting the public, acting as ambassadors for the company.''
Technology and America's shift from an industrial to a service-oriented economy have created a huge demand for secretaries. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projected a 29 percent increase in the number of secretarial jobs from 1982 to 1995.
``Some of the big cities, especially Washington, New York and Los Angeles, are experiencing a critical shortage of qualified professional secretaries,'' Louis said. ``We're seeing advertisements listing salaries of $30,000-plus, and incentives such as a company car. …