Administrators

In one of my first jobs, my boss had two PAs of his own, who carried out tasks such as typing, diary coordination, grammar correction, gatekeeping/security guarding, and generally life coaching, including buying gifts for his wife. Essentially, I was also his third PA. Since then, the ratio of business services staff to fee earners has been sliding, resulting in a significant rebalancing of the workforce and a softening of demand for floor space. In PA heavy industries such a law, the ratio is about 0.7:1 (according to a report last year by The Lawyer). In other professions, and stripping out wider business support, the ratio of PAs to fee earners can stand as much as 1:10. The big factor has been the removal of the typing pool, as e-mails and text messages have replaced letters and faxes. How much further could this go? The roles that a senior administrator now carries out tend to be more human and less process laden. This is likely to persist, particularly as department coordinators take advantage of new tools like Google’s recently announced Duplex AI, which can arrange meetings, book rooms, and queue print jobs. Importantly, the tool still knows when it needs to escalate more complex tasks to humans.