Different Types of Personal Assistants Explained

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A personal assistant (PA) is a versatile professional who can enhance your productivity, reduce your stress, and improve your work-life balance. Whether you are looking to streamline your professional life, manage your personal affairs more efficiently, or provide support to your business team, there is a type of PA for you.

This guide explores the different types of personal assistants available, helping you hire the best professional for your needs.

Six Types of Personal Assistants

Before you start looking into how to hire a PA, you need to first decide what support you need. From corporate settings to private households, the scope of a PA’s responsibilities can vary widely. For the latest salary data, please request a copy of our latest Salary and Benefits Review.

Here are the six common types of personal assistants you can hire and their specialisms:

Corporate PAs

Corporate PAs provide administrative support to senior managers within a business. These PAs will typically support a team or a manager with highly demanding roles. Their main goal is to ensure their time is used efficiently. Their work environment is typically an office setting where they have access to the tools and technology needed to perform their duties.

A few of their key responsibilities include:

To perform successfully in their role, corporate PAs need strong organisational and communication skills. These skills ensure they can adequately support you in a fast-paced corporate environment.

The salary you will pay a corporate PA will depend heavily on your industry.

Team Assistants

Team assistants support entire teams or departments within an organisation, rather than individual managers. Usually considered as one echelon down from a PA, they handle a wide range of administrative tasks, allowing their team to focus on essential business activities or strategic projects. Team assistants will ensure the team has a collaborative and efficient working environment.

Key responsibilities of team assistants include:

To excel in their position, team assistants need to possess excellent time management and interpersonal skills. Their role requires them to be adept at multitasking, have strong organisational abilities, and be capable of communicating effectively with team members and other stakeholders.

The salary for team assistants can vary widely depending on the industry, the size of the company, and the location.

Private PAs

A private personal assistant manages the personal lives of one individual or family, helping to ensure your day-to-day runs smoothly and efficiently. They usually work from the family home or a private office to assist with personal tasks.

The main duties and responsibilities of a private PA include:

Alongside the typical personal assistant skills, a private PA must be discrete due to the personal and confidential nature of the position. They should also have great multitasking skills and problem-solving capabilities to succeed in a sometimes-unpredictable working role.

Private PAs can earn more than other types of personal assistants, depending on your specific needs. For example, if you need them to accompany you on extensive travel trips or be available 24/7, they will require a higher salary.

Family Office PAs

Family office PAs provide professional support and, in some cases, private support, for HNWI and family office senior executives. They will often work in both the family’s private offices and from your home to ensure all financial, administrative, and personal tasks are covered. They differ from private PAs in that they have a wider scope of corporate administrative responsibilities.

A family office PA will typically handle:

Family office PAs should be discrete and trustworthy, based on the sensitive information that they handle. It is also essential that they have a firm understanding of financial matters to offer sufficient support.

The cost of hiring a family office PA will depend on the size of your family office, the complexity of the role, and whether you need permanent or temporary assistance.

Business Assistants

Business assistants are like corporate PAs but will usually hold a more senior position. This means they often support the business owner with a wide range of administrative tasks to help drive the business forward.

Some of the main responsibilities of a business assistant are:

Hiring a business assistant can be a great decision as they will enhance the organisation and efficiency of your day-to-day, allowing you to focus on the growth of your business.

Virtual PAs

Virtual assistants (VAs) provide remote administrative support to businesses, entrepreneurs, and professionals. They will work from their home or a co-working space and manage all their duties online. They often work for multiple individuals, depending on the workload and your agreement.

VAs hold these key duties:

The virtual assistant you choose for the position should have strong communication and time-management skills. They should have experience working remotely to prove that they can work independently. Due to the remote nature of the role, they should also be confident using various online tools and platforms.

Hiring a virtual assistant can be a more cost-effective way to get the support you need.

Difference Between a PA and Executive Assistant

Understanding the difference between a personal assistant vs executive assistant is essential when making a hiring decision. PAs will manage the professional tasks, personal tasks, or a combination. They also support a wide range of individuals, from business owners to managers to families.

Executive assistants only provide administrative support for senior executives in a business setting. EAs often have a deeper involvement in the company’s strategy, handling more complex tasks and having greater responsibility for decision-making processes. They may also manage additional team members, ensuring the senior executive is fully supported.

How To Choose the Right PA

Finding the right PA means looking for someone whose skills, experience, and personality match the requirements of your role and your work style. This kind of match will ensure you get the support you need to be more productive and achieve your personal and professional goals.

Here are the key steps to take to ensure the best PA hire:

Define the Scope of Work

Start by clearly defining the tasks and responsibilities you expect the PA to handle. Understanding the specific type of support, you need will help you identify the right kind of PA for your situation, whether it is for personal, professional, or a mix of tasks.

Assess Experience and Expertise

Determine the level of experience and specific expertise a candidate must have for your needs. This is especially important if the role includes specialised tasks or if you operate within a niche industry where insider knowledge is essential.

Choose Between In-House and Virtual Support

Decide if your lifestyle or business support tasks need someone who can be physically present. If not, a virtual assistant would be more suitable.

Ready To Hire a PA?

Get the support you need when you hire a personal assistant with the assistance of Tiger Recruitment. Our team will guide you through the process, helping to identify the exact type of PA you need. We will provide you with a strong list of candidates that are perfectly matched to your requirements. Read our ultimate guide to hiring a PA to learn more.

Frequently asked questions

What is the difference between a family office PA and a private PA?

A family office PA provides administrative and professional support to HNWI and/or family office executives. A private PA provides more personalised support to individuals or families, managing day-to-day activities, personal appointments, and household operations. The main difference is that a family office PA will have a wider range of financial administrative tasks to support. It is not uncommon for these roles to be blended in some situations.

Is it better to hire a virtual PA?

Hiring a virtual PA can be highly beneficial for businesses or individuals that operate remotely and require flexible support. Virtual PAs can be a cost-effective and efficient choice for managing online administrative tasks and communications.

Should I choose a corporate PA or team assistant?

The choice between a corporate PA and a team assistant depends on your specific needs. If you are a manager and require high-level support for business operations, a corporate PA is ideal. For support aimed at enhancing the efficiency and coordination of a broader team or department, a team assistant would be more suitable.

Author Jane Leese Tiger Recruitment Team

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