Administrative Professionals Deserve Recognition Every Day of the Year

By Mark Wachen Mark Wachen has been verified by Muck Rack's editorial team
Published on April 21, 2023

Administrative professionals get their day in the sun on the last Wednesday of every April, otherwise known as Administrative Professionals’ Day. But the data around these vital workers confirms that we should be celebrating them the other 364 days, too.

Here at CardSnacks, we find ourselves designing e-cards for a range of appreciation and recognition days for employees in every industry. We have seen e-cards requested for “National Grocery Store Worker Day,” “National Reporter Day,” and even “Hug Your Lawyer Day.” But, as recognition holidays go, Administrative Professionals’ Day is always among the most popular.

Administrative Professionals’ Day started as National Secretaries Day by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in 1952. Eventually, the holiday’s name was changed in 2000 to reflect the growing complexity and diversity of the roles of administrative professionals.

Executives have long known that companies and offices run smoothly because of these employees, which is likely the impetus behind why we send so many gift cards and greetings every year. But, we were curious about how administrative professionals feel about their roles. Do they feel a sense of recognition and appreciation for the work they do? How would they like to be recognized?

To get answers to these and many other questions, we surveyed 209 administrative professionals across the United States to get their opinions on their work experiences. Here’s what we found: 

They Feel Appreciated

Contrary to the negative headlines around workforce attitudes, administrative professionals generally feel appreciated for the work they do. 

According to survey results, 68.1% of participants feel appreciated, with only 31.8% saying they did not feel appreciated for the work they do. Another important data point, more than half of respondents felt their bosses were also appreciative of their work. Additionally, 55.3% feel they are satisfied with their compensation.

When you look at the data by gender, however, there are some differences. Women are almost twice as likely to feel underappreciated. While just 12.3% of male administrative professionals feel underappreciated, the number jumps to 22.5% for females. The differences were similar in other dimensions. 57% of men felt their bosses were respectful, while only 45% of women felt this way.

They Love Their Job

Love is a strong word, but based on the data, we think it’s fair to say they really enjoy their work.

At a time when we hear about mass layoffs, quiet quitting, and employees jumping from one job to another, only 38.2% of administrative professionals said that they were actively looking for a new job. While this may sound high at first glance, it compares very favorably to other surveys in which as many as 96% of workers are looking for a new job. And 41.6% of administrative professionals surveyed consider their current job to be their “dream job.”

This Happiness Comes Despite Stress

While administrative professionals may feel appreciated and enjoy their daily tasks, it doesn’t mean that they feel like their job is completely stress-free. The Gallup State of the Workforce report found that stress among the world’s workers reached an all-time high this year, with 44% of surveyors feeling a lot of daily stress. 

In our survey, 38.2% of respondents felt more stressed compared to last year, with 39.2% feeling their stress levels are about the same. And 28.9% are worried about being laid off in the next year. The differences are pretty significant based on age. While only 17.6% of administrative professionals above the age of 45 are worried about being laid off, 38.7% under the age of 45 are worried about being laid off. Perhaps as a precaution, 38.2% admitted that they are currently looking for another job.

Part of the stress may relate to the expanded scope of their role. Fully 69.1% of respondents said their day-to-day work includes tasks that are not considered administrative.

But Not Worried About the Bots

What is not causing them stress is the fear that AI technologies like ChatGPT might eventually make their job obsolete. 67.6% of administrative professionals are familiar with ChatGPT, but of those, only 17.4% worry that it might make their job obsolete. A higher percentage, 31.9%, are excited about how these technologies might make their job easier. This is particularly true among the younger set, where 45% of administrative professionals under 34 years old expressed excitement about how AI will make their job easier.

How to Recognize These Employees

Everyone loves to be recognized. At CardSnacks, we pride ourselves on being able to help our business clients put a smile on their employees’ faces.

From our survey, we found that receiving a card with some kind of gift enclosed was the top choice for how administrative professionals want to feel recognized, with 32.8% of survey respondents opting for that choice. Another 31.9% opted for an early afternoon off. Other answers included being taken to lunch (19.1%) and being publicly recognized in the office (16.2%). 

Wondering what gift to include in the card? Of course, we were excited to see that 81% of respondents said receiving a gift card was their preferred choice. If you decide to go the gift card route, the most common amount that administrative professionals expect to receive is a $50 gift card. But note that this does vary with compensation level. Highly compensated administrative professionals tend to have higher expectations. While 32.3% of administrative professionals earning less than $50,000/year would want to receive a gift card of over $100 to feel appreciated, fully 54.8% of administrative professionals earning over $70,000/year need to receive a $100 gift card or greater to feel appreciated.

So the good news is that our survey seems to show that most administrative professionals are satisfied with their work, despite some level of stress and some concern about their job security. But what is also clear is that administrative professionals are very dedicated and are certainly worthy of appreciation and recognition. And this is true not just on Administrative Professionals Day, but every day of the year.

By Mark Wachen Mark Wachen has been verified by Muck Rack's editorial team

Mark Wachen is the CEO of CardSnacks. He also is the Managing Partner and Founder of Upstage Ventures, a firm that advises and invests in consumer internet and interactive marketing companies. Wachen was the founder of the Dreamit NYC accelerator program, which he ran from 2011-2013. Prior to Dreamit, Wachen was the CEO/Founder of Optimost, the company that pioneered multivariate testing and optimization on the Internet. He served as CEO for the company up until its acquisition by Interwoven in November 2007 for $52 million. Wachen also worked for seven years at Sony, overseeing a wide variety of Internet initiatives. Wachen graduated summa cum laude from Dartmouth College and has an MBA from Harvard Business School.

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