‘Secretaries’ Return to the Workplace

The number of administrative professionals with the word "secretary" in their job titles is on the rise.

The increase was noted in a  survey by the International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP) in a shift that marks a reversal of popularity for a job title that has been in decline for at least 20 years.

For the last 20 years, secretaries had been increasingly known as executive or administrative assistants, going the way of the stewardess (rebranded as flight attendant) and the gardener (landscape artist).

The growing number of admins with “secretary” in their job titles is one of the business trends seen in IAAP’s Administrative Professional Skills Benchmarking Survey. Every two years, the association gathers data from members about job titles, responsibilities, salaries, job satisfaction, technology and other issues. More than 3,300 admins participated.

Though the top two job titles for IAAP members were executive assistant (29%) and administrative assistant (25%), the third most common title was administrative secretary (7%)—the first time in several years that administrative secretary made it into the top three. In fact, the number of admins with “secretary” in their titles nearly doubled in two years, from 8% to nearly 15%.

If in fact there are more secretaries, it might be the “Mad Men” effect: AMC’s series may stoke nostalgia for the classic image of the American corporate secretary, IAAP theorized.