UCL Career Frameworks


Personal Assistant and Executive Assistants

The PA and EA Careers Framework takes you from administrative support roles to departmental management.

woman working at a desk in an open plan office
What is a Personal or Executive Assistant?

The role of a Personal Assistant (PA) and Executive Assistant (EA) is to provide proactive, effective and efficient administrative support to a senior leader/manager, enabling them to function and lead effectively in an organised way. PAs/EAs act as a gateway to the senior staff member; at times, screening and responding to routine queries on their behalf, allowing the manager to focus on higher level tasks and decision making.

A PA/EA must possess a clear understanding of the key priorities and responsibilities of their manager, and be able to take the appropriate action, or provide the right level of support, to enable the right things happen at the right time, ensuring organisational success and the most productive output. They may act as delegates on behalf of the manager, with the confidence, skills and ability to interact with a diverse range of stakeholders at different levels, both within and outside the organisation. This requires the post holder to have excellent communication, negotiation and influencing skills, including the ability to manage their manager’s day to day routine including diaries, travel and expenses.

PAs and EAs must be able to manage a demanding and varied workload requiring prioritisation of conflicting tasks, along with the ability to remain calm and professional in sometimes exceptional circumstances. PAs and EAs are likely to possess emotional intelligence, enabling them to project an air of confidence and communicate with conviction and the courage to challenge their leader and others in their team where needed. Whilst excellent Microsoft Office skills will help a PA/EA  in assisting with the production of documents, such as reports, agendas, meeting minutes and presentations, it is likely that these will not be the only tasks they will be expected to undertake.

PA/EA positions are tailored to combine various roles and tasks that may be specific to the department or role of the manager, which would suit individuals who are able to adapt to fast changing needs, and those who have the ability to actively think on their feet, finding solutions to problems sometimes with little guidance, using their knowledge, internal or external networks, and creative thinking in order to resolve an issue.

Role Profiles 

Career case study

Liz Mooney

Liz Mooney

HR Staffing and Executive Assistant’s Manager

Meet Liz

Faith Poyser

Faith Poyser

Executive Assistant in the Faculty Office

Meet Faith