Why EAs Don’t Need a Degree & the Need for Salary Transparency

If you follow me on my personal LinkedIn account (HERE), you will have seen I’ve been dropping some bombs over requirements for admins to have degrees and companies not providing salary transparency. 

In the world of business, the path to success isn’t always paved with degrees. Especially true for Executive Assistants (EAs), where the real classroom is the dynamic day-to-day operations of business management. Here are some examples:

Apprenticeship in Business Management

Being an EA is akin to an apprenticeship in business management. Each day offers a unique learning opportunity that can’t be replicated in a lecture hall or text book. From critical decision-making moments to strategic planning sessions, EAs have a front-row seat to the inner workings of business leadership.

On-the-Job Learning 

What EAs witness in terms of problem-solving, management dynamics, and leadership strategies is invaluable and often bespoke. This on-the-job education equips them with unmatched skills and insights that are crucial for their role and growth. The lessons learned through direct experience are often more impactful and enduring than theoretical knowledge.

Building Skills in Real-Time 

The role of an EA involves complex problem-solving, exceptional organisational skills, and the ability to handle confidential information with discretion. These skills are honed and perfected in the field, tailored to the specific needs and challenges of the company.

Mastering Emotional Intelligence (EQ)

In our unique position, EAs develop a high degree of EQ by managing complex interpersonal dynamics daily. Our role demands a deep understanding of emotion management, empathy, and communication to effectively liaise between the executive and other stakeholders. This emotional acuity is essential for navigating the intricate human aspects of business, which can’t be taught in textbooks or a classroom, but are mastered through experience.

Networking and Exposure

EAs interact with a variety of stakeholders, providing them a chance to build an extensive professional network and gain a holistic understanding of the business ecosystem, which is a cornerstone for any business leader.


I personally think it’s important to clarify that my intention is not to challenge recruiters or diminish the value of academic achievements. Rather, I aim to broaden people’s understanding and inclusion of different paths to professional excellence in the administrative profession.

Throughout my career, I’ve met and worked with many talented individuals who have thrived as Executive Assistants without a degree. These professionals often bring a wealth of experience, practical skills, and a unique perspective that brings a level of support to their roles that cannot be taught in a textbook or in a classroom. I will use my own story as an example:

– Started my admin career as an Office Junior / Receptionist

– Was promoted to Office Manager

– Was promoted to Personal Assistant

– Was promoted to Executive Assistant

– Was promoted to Senior Executive Assistant and Executive Manager of the CEO’s office

– Built two successful admin businesses

– Bought another admin business

– Was asked to join an admin association as a Board Director

– Am a global speaker on career development for admin events and conferences

– Have a podcast on the future of admin

Tell me…do you think me going off to get a degree, after 20 years in this profession, with my experience, with the CEOs, Presidents and Founders that I have worked side by side with, would make me a better candidate for an EA role?


Salary Transparency in Administrative Roles

Now let’s quickly touch salary transparency whilst we’re here. Transparency in salary disclosure is not just a trend; it’s a movement towards fairness and clarity in the hiring process, especially in administrative positions. By clearly stating compensation details in job ads, employers demonstrate respect and openness, which attracts the right talent. It sets clear expectations, saves time for both parties, and helps to narrow the wage gap, ensuring that admin professionals are fairly compensated for their crucial role in business operations. Salary transparency empowers candidates to make informed decisions and fosters a culture of trust from the outset, setting the stage for a more equitable workplace. We need recruiters and hiring managers to fight to have this salary transparency going forward. 

I believe it’s crucial for us as a global admin community to discuss how we can support recruiters and their clients in recognising the diverse capabilities that admin candidates can bring to the table. The idea is not just to challenge the status quo but to enhance it by acknowledging the brilliance in admin roles, goes beyond academic qualifications.

I am hopeful that this conversation will lead to a broader acceptance and support from recruiters and talent managers, helping them convince their clients that the traditional degree requirement might overlook potentially outstanding Executive Assistants candidates. We also need their commitment to creating change and posting the salary range. 

Let’s discuss how we can collectively work towards more inclusive recruitment practices that appreciate and value diverse admin career journeys. 

As always, feel free to join the conversation on our LinkedIn page. We love to hear your feedback on these topics / blogs. Or email us at [email protected].