The old image of a Personal Assistant is no longer being portrayed across corporate offices. Gender equality has well and truly made its stamp against the stigma, opening up many doors for the men to make their grand entrance into the new world of what being a Personal Assistant means.
Since when did tasks such as diary management and travel-booking become solely roles that only women could perform? Perhaps the answer could be the change this career path has seen in the last few decades. The role of the Personal Assistant has matured and taken on more responsibility than stereotypical secretarial tasks. Being a Personal Assistant puts you in an extremely strong position. Not only can you wangle your way into high-level meetings, but you get a chance to showcase your talents to those at the top. For others, though, being a Personal Assistant is a route into a chosen career, testimony to the fact that the job is about more than organising the biscuit-buying rota. It's no wonder men are getting the message.
This new generation of male Personal Assistants are dispelling the gender myth, proving that it can be done, and done well by both sexes. I say new generation, but cast your mind back to the early 20th century: the role of the Personal Assistants (as we would class it now) was dominated by men. The pay was higher, the status well-regarded – women wanted in! But by the mid-60’s, women dominated the Personal Assistant roles and men were the ones demanding something else. A survey revealed that by the mid-60’s 28% of companies believed sex appeal was a requirement of the Personal Assistants role. Something we’d find hard to believe now and thankfully is no longer important!
As history repeats itself, the question we must ask ourselves, is whether the male Personal Assistants are soon to be the front-runners, overtaking the women in the race for these roles. Hopefully the strive for gender equality will prevent a male dominance in the world of support roles, but with a competitive drive and thirst for career opportunities – the boys are definitely back in business!