PAs declare war on VAs: Secretaries faced with being replaced by 'virtual ...

PAs declare war on VAs: Secretaries faced with being replaced by 'virtual ...
PAs declare war on VAs: Secretaries faced with being replaced by 'virtual ...

Personal assistants have declared war on virtual assistants amid fears they will be replaced by them due to the new work from home culture.

Some PAs are going freelance and setting up their own businesses after a jobs bloodbath hit the industry during the pandemic.

But others are turning into VAs - where they work for a client remotely and do not enter their offices - as they say top executives cannot operate without them.

There are fears PAs will become redundant due to the Covid crisis as the role 'may no longer be necessary in the same way'.

Earlier this week it emerged more than 500 secretaries at Deloitte had been told their jobs were at risk.

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The bombshell came after 20,000 employees were told they can choose whether to work from home, the office or a mix of both from 'Freedom Day' on July 19.

Some PAs are going freelance and setting up their own businesses after a jobs bloodbath hit the industry during the pandemic. Pictured: Lily Shippen, who runs a recruitment service for PAs

Lucy Everett

Some PAs are going freelance and setting up their own businesses after a jobs bloodbath hit the industry during the pandemic. Left: Lily Shippen, who runs a recruitment service for PAs. Right: Lucy Everett

Lily Shippen said there were a lot of jobs going during Covid and thinks they are going online

Lily Shippen said there were a lot of jobs going during Covid and thinks they are going online

Lily Shippen, who runs a recruitment service for PAs, said she had noticed the switch

Lily Shippen, who runs a recruitment service for PAs, said she had noticed the switch

Kate Chastey director of The Passionate PA, said a lot of people are leaving offices to become virtual assistants or go freelance.

But she warned 'their success rate is very low' and many go back into jobs 'as soon as they find something suitable' which is often within months.

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The PA, who started out as a freelance more than a decade ago, added: 'They're not setting themselves up as a business, simply trying to fill time and make ends meet.'

She admitted the Covid crisis had changed the role of the personal assistant but said they had become 'even more important' during the pandemic,

Ms Chastey said: 'The entrepreneur has had more time with reduced travel et cetera, but most have worked even harder to keep their businesses going over the last 18 months.

'This means that the business support from their PA has been even more vital as a great PA will be doing so much more than handling meetings, diary management and HR matters.'

She said there are apps and ways of outsourcing receptionist and secretarial work at a fraction of the cost of a full time PA.

But she added: 'Our business leading clients still very much want their executive level PA support to be provided by a real person, with real personality – ready and willing to meet face to face when the time is right.'

Kate Chastey (pictured) director of The Passionate PA, said a lot of people are leaving offices to become virtual assistants or go freelance

Kate Chastey (pictured) director of The Passionate PA, said a lot of people are leaving offices to become virtual assistants or go freelance

Lily Shippen, who runs a recruitment service for PAs, said she had noticed the switch from many in her trade to freelance.

She continued: 'There were a lot of jobs going during Covid. But I don't think it is where the role is going.

'The role is growing year on year just in a more strategic way rather than the traditional roles.'

But Rosemary Parr, a former executive assistant to BT Chairman Sir Christopher Bland, said she is concerned by the way the industry is going.

She said: 'As a result of Covid there may be some industries where there is a cut back in admin staff.

But Rosemary Parr (pictured), a former executive assistant to BT Chairman Sir Christopher Bland, said she is concerned by the way the industry is going

But Rosemary Parr (pictured), a former executive assistant to BT Chairman Sir Christopher Bland, said she is concerned by the way the industry is going

'However no Executive at a senior level can do their job to their best ability without an

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