Changing Technology, Restructuring Alters Role for Secretaries
Special to The Journal Record
KANSAS CITY _ Gone are the days of steno pads and white out, as secretaries today have become computer experts whose duties extend into supervision, training and purchasing, said Evelynne Thompson, international president of Professional Secretaries International.
This new role is being highlighted today during Professional Secretaries Day. The leading association of office professionals, Professional Secretaries International is the originator and sole sponsor of Professional Secretaries Day and Professional Secretaries Week, which ends Saturday.
"Technology and corporate downsizing have radically transformed the job of the secretary," said Thompson, the association's 1992-93 international president.
"The secretary often has become the person in the office most skilled in a variety of software programs. This has allowed secretaries to take on increased responsibilities formerly held by middle managers. As companies have downsized, they have given more responsibility to secretaries."
A recent survey by the organization reveals the extent of secretaries' computer skills. More than 95 percent use word processing software, 72 percent operate spreadsheet software, 46 percent use data base software, 19 percent handle desktop publishing and 16 percent utilize financial software.
The survey also pinpointed secretaries' growing managerial role. Over one-third of secretaries supervise other employees, and 48 percent are responsible for training others. In addition, 81 percent purchase office supplies, and 64 percent handle travel arrangements.
Professional Secretaries International defines a secretary as "an executive assistant who possesses a mastery of office skills, demonstrates the ability to assume responsibility without direct supervision, exercises initiative and judgment and makes decisions within the scope of assigned authority. …