HI-TECH SAVVY

Survey: Firms Implementing Tech Tools Have Built-in Resource in Support Staff

MENLO PARK, CA -- Technological advances will be the key influence shaping how business is conducted in the next five years, according to 46 percent of executives surveyed recently by OfficeTeam and the International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP). Administrative professionals stand ready to play a lead role in embracing these technology tools in their organizations. In the same study, 95 percent of administrative assistants said they find it easy to adapt to new technologies; 83 percent are teaching others what they know.

More than 340 administrative professionals and 250 senior executives in the United States and Canada took part in the study, which was released in advance of Administrative Professionals Week (APW), April 20-26. The full survey results are reported in Changing Places, Changing Faces, a research guide developed by OfficeTeam and IAAP. The complimentary guide can be downloaded at www.officeteam.com/changes.

Executives were asked, “In the next five years, which of the following trends do you think will have the most significant impact on the way your company conducts business?” Their responses: 

Technological advancements   46%
International business expansion   23%
Multiple generations in the workforce   16%
Increased employee diversity   12%
Other   3%
    100%

Administrative professionals were asked to rate their ability to adapt to new technologies. Their responses: 

Very easy to adapt   50%
Somewhat easy to adapt   45%
Somewhat difficult to adapt   5%
Very difficult to adapt   0%
    100%

Administrative professionals were asked to what extent they agreed or disagreed with the statement, “I am expected to teach others how to work with new technologies.” Their responses:  

Strongly agree   37%
Somewhat agree   46%
Somewhat disagree   11%
Strongly disagree   6%
    100%

“Technological advances are rapidly changing how, when and where people work,” said Dave Willmer, executive director of OfficeTeam. “Administrative professionals are often early adopters of new technologies and, research shows, willing to share their knowledge with others.”

While executives recognize the value of office support staff as a training resource, there may be opportunities for their teams to play an even larger role. When executives in the study were asked to rate on a scale of 1 to 5 the importance of administrative staff in helping their company initiate new technologies, the mean response was 3.5 

“Many executives remain unaware of their administrative professionals’ skills or willingness to be a technology resource,” said Judy McCoy, IAAP’s 2007-08 international president. “To their credit, support staff are proactively helping when they see a need, especially in smaller companies without large information technology departments.”

McCoy, who holds the Certified Professional Secretary and Certified Administrative Professional designations, also said, “As high-tech innovations are introduced, managers should provide their support staff with ongoing training opportunities on these new tools. For their part, administrative staff can boost their career potential by making managers aware of their software skills and willingness to be a training resource for others.”   
 

About OfficeTeam and IAAP

OfficeTeam provides businesses with the highly skilled administrative talent they need to maximize productivity, achieve cost efficiency and support full-time staff. The company has more than 300 locations worldwide and offers online job search services at www.officeteam.com.

The International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP) is the world’s largest association for administrative support staff, with more than 550 chapters and approximately 40,000 members and affiliates worldwide. For more information, visit www.iaap-hq.org

About the Study
Both surveys were developed by OfficeTeam and IAAP. The employer survey was conducted by an independent research firm and is based on telephone interviews with 150 randomly selected senior executives at the 1,000 largest U.S. companies and 100 senior executives in Canada. The views of administrative staff are based on a web survey of more than 340 administrative professionals employed in the U.S. and Canada.


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