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What does an
Administrative Assistant do?

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Other common names for this position: Secretary, Administrative Secretary, Administrative Clerk, Personal Secretary, Private Secretary, Office Administrative Assistant, Appointment Secretary, Contracts Secretary, Finance Secretary, Human Resources Secretary, Recording Secretary, Sales Secretary, Technical Secretary, Secretary-Clerk


Administrative Assistants keep offices running smoothly by performing a variety of administrative duties, such as filing, planning, report writing, and office management and coordination. In some cases, especially in smaller companies, Administrative Assistants may also take care of Human Resources tasks, in areas such as accounting, recruiting, and logistics.

The main difference between Administrative Assistants and Executive Assistants is the person or group of people to whom they report. Executive Assistants provide personalized assistance to one specific individual, while Administrative Assistants work for a whole team, department, or office. Of course, their workload and responsibilities will vary accordingly. Administrative Assistants’ tasks are usually more clerical-oriented and less self-driven than the ones carried out by Executive Assistants. The Administrative Assistant’s work also benefits all business operations, rather than solely contributing to the executives’ efforts.

On another note, the term “Assistant” has been slowly replacing the term “Secretary”, which is, in most cases, considered an outdated and inadequate term.[1]

Primary Responsibilities

Here’s a non-exhaustive list of common tasks Administrative Assistants are required to complete.

  • Greeting and directing visitors.
  • Handling all incoming and outgoing mail, calls, emails, and faxes:
  • Continuously monitoring, responding to and forwarding incoming emails;
  • coordinating messenger and courier service with preferred vendors;
  • receiving, sorting, and distributing daily incoming mail to staff; and
  • tracking and returning client submittals (e.g. drawings and reports).
  • Creating, maintaining, and reviewing office documents, such as invoices, reports, memos, data sheets, and other administrative records:
  • Conducting research and generating reports by collecting data from various tools and/or consolidating it into reports;
  • typing, proofreading, and distributing general correspondence; and
  • updating and maintaining existing procedures and guides, as well as phone lists, mailing lists, and other contact lists.
  • Filing and organizing paper and electronic documents, such as emails, invoices, reports, and other administrative records:
  • Converting paper documents to digital using a scanner; and
  • assisting with data entry and database maintenance.
  • Scheduling and coordinating professional meetings, interviews, appointments, and other similar activities and events:
  • Maintaining a calendar and coordinating the workflow and meetings;
  • preparing meeting agendas as to maximize time efficiency;
  • booking conference rooms and other meeting locations;
  • securing venues and coordinating catering and other logistics when planning bigger events;
  • taking notes during meetings and writing and distributing summaries; and
  • handling travel arrangements for company executives.
  • Interacting with customers and third parties, keeping track of their files, and addressing their complaints and requests in a timely manner:
  • Performing follow-up and regular maintenance of client relationships;
  • preparing and delivering documents to clients requesting project information and follow-up; and
  • ensuring current projects are completed within deadlines.
  • Maintaining office coordination and resolving administrative problems and inquiries:
  • Arranging for repair and maintenance of office equipment;
  • ordering missing supplies and maintaining inventory, replacing materials and equipment as needed or instructed; and
  • completing expense reports.
  • Ensuring work area is maintained in a clean and orderly manner.

Daily Tasks

  • Ensuring the office runs smoothly.
  • Filing and organizing paper and electronic documents, such as emails, invoices, reports, and other administrative records.
  • Handling all incoming and outgoing mail, calls, emails, and faxes.
  • Creating and distributing documents.
  • Managing customer inquiries.
  • Performing searches and providing information.
  • Scheduling meetings.

The average Administrative Assistant salary is $39,031 per year or $20 per hour. This is around 1.2 times more than the Median wage of the country. Entry level positions start at $27,000 while most experienced workers make up to $55,000. These results are based on 3,412 salaries extracted from job descriptions.

Gross Salary41,772.13 $
CPP- 1,894.44 $
EI- 785.32 $
Federal Tax- 3,992.94 $
Provincial Tax- 1,961.77 $
Total Tax- 8,634.47 $
Net Pay*33,137.66 $
In Ontario, Canada, if you make 41,772.13 $ a year, you will be taxed 8,634.47 $. That means that your take home pay will be 33,137.66 $ per year, or 2,761.47 $ per month. Your average tax rate is 20.67% and your marginal tax rate is 29.18%.
* Deductions are calculated based on the tables of Ontario, Canada income tax.
Job Offers
There are currently 3826 available job offers for the Administrative Assistant position on Below is a list of available jobs, based on Canada's most populated metropolitan areas.
Education is key ! Over [number] graduates attended one or more of these schools prior to becoming a Administrative Assistant. These Schools usually offer specialized courses and programs that impart the necessary knowledge and skills required by most employers.
Top 5 Schools in Canada
to become Administrative Assistant
  • 1
    Montreal, Quebec
  • 2
    Montreal, Quebec
Required Skills and Qualifications
  • Outstanding interpersonal and communication skills:
  • Communicating clearly, both in writing and verbally, in order to build trust and cultivate relationships with clients, coworkers, and executives;
  • displaying impeccable and professional phone demeanor;
  • having a friendly and engaging personality in order to foster and maintain positive client relationships;
  • displaying strong customer service skills in order to anticipate others’ needs and handle their requests in a proactive, diplomatic, and tactful manner; and
  • being a demonstrated team player.
  • Exceptional organizational and time management skills:
  • Prioritizing and planning work activities as to use time efficiently while handling a high volume, diverse workload; and
  • multitasking; being able to work in a dynamic, fast-paced environment.
  • Analytical and problem-solving skills:
  • Effectively reading and interpreting information; and
  • identifying issues and resolving problems in a timely manner using creativity and good judgment.
  • Great attention to detail and high levels of thoroughness:
  • Ensuring standard specifications are met, including high-level proofreading; and
  • staying focused during highly repetitive tasks.
  • Administrative skills:
  • Demonstrated proficiency in computer word processing, spreadsheet, and database applications;
  • demonstrated ability to type at a speed rate of 40 to 60 words per minute; and
  • being able to operate basic office equipment, such as copiers and printers.
  • High levels of honesty, discretion, and integrity:
  • Being trustworthy enough to handle sensitive/confidential information.
  • High levels of initiative, flexibility, and responsiveness:
  • Being able to learn and adapt quickly, while facing continuously changing demands; and
  • working toward improving current organizational processes as to make them more efficient and less time-consuming.
  • Exceptionally resourceful with an extensive knowledge of standard office practices, procedures, and equipment.

It’s especially important for Administrative Assistants to pay attention to how they come across. Understandably, outstanding customer service skills are essential to this job, but a successful candidate must also remain polite at all times, continuously smiling and conveying a positive, can-do attitude. Project management skills and experience in sales and retention are also considered definite assets, as well as basic bookkeeping, data entry, and record keeping skills.

The minimal educational requirement for the Administrative Assistant position is a high school diploma. However, more and more employers now seek candidates who have completed post-secondary courses or have earned a higher academic degree, such as a college or university degree in Administration, Business, or Secretarial Studies. Moreover, any higher level of education is often recognized as experience and will eventually allow candidates to apply for higher positions, especially for those who wish to pursue their career as Executive Assistants. Administrative Assistants may also choose to specialize in the Legal and Medical fields, in which case they will also need to learn the terminology and tasks specific to these fields.

Most Administrative Assistant positions require between 2 and 3 years of experience providing administrative and secretarial services, while some may require up to 5 years. Having a basic knowledge of the sector in which the applicant wants to work is always a must.