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Will technology ever replace a PA, EA or secretary?

The threat of automation has hung heavily over many industries and careers throughout the 21st century, including the world of office support. Computers, the internet, smart phones and now artificial intelligence (AI) have all offered threats and caused many to worry about the future of their PA, EA and secretarial roles.

Yes, we work in a world that embraces technology and it offers amazing cost and time savings; thanks to the virtual world, meetings no longer need to be done face to face, we can stay in touch with colleagues and clients globally through social media. We can even use tools such as Amazon’s Echo to ask for assistance one question at a time.

So could all this technology make the role of a PA, EA or secretary obsolete? For us the answer is a resounding no. Technology will and has certainly made these roles easier, however what it can’t offer, even with the advancements in AI, is that personal human touch that you can rely upon when you need a solution that requires someone to think outside the box.

A human PA, EA or secretary offers so much more than just diary management, they are there at the hub when the office is working remotely; they are there to handle the situation when sickness or dramas happen. Unlike a machine and even the smartest algorithm they can truly think ahead for you and remind you as they get to understand your needs and requirements.

As these vital roles continue to develop and grow it becomes even more unlikely that technology could ever replace the human touch. The role of the personal assistant, executive assistant or secretary often requires knowledge of HR, marketing, finance, social media and PR as well as the social requirements of networking and relationship building. All in all it’s clear that we have a long way to go before technology will even come close to matching the all-round skills of a living, breathing professional!

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