Executive assistants once ran the office. Increasingly, the office runs without them.
The decline of what has been a solid career path for women without college degrees has been quiet and gradual, but in magnitude, it has mirrored the downturn in blue-collar factory work, economists say.
As The Wall Street Journal reports, Technology and automation have chipped away at duties like papers to be filed and landlines to be answered. A new generation of corporate leaders are content to schedule meetings and book flights on their own. Glad to cut costs, companies have culled their administrative ranks, transformed the role for many of those who have managed to hang on and moved some positions to cheaper parts of the country.
More than 1.6 million secretarial and administrative-assistant jobs have vanished since 2000, according to federal data, an almost 40% decline, comparable to that in manufacturing. The losses haven’t garnered much notice. Unlike a plant closing that leaves thousands of Americans unemployed in one go, jobs in a traditionally female sector have evaporated in dribs and drabs.
Up to 10 million women across six mature economies, including the U.S. and Canada, will need to switch roles or careers by 2030 as their office-support jobs continue to disappear, according to the McKinsey Global Institute. Read the full story.