Earlier this year, the Sunday TImes published its 2014 Rich List. It made for interesting reading. In the UK, there are now more than 100 billionaires, with a combined wealth of over £300bn. This means that the UK is now the billionaire capital of the world, with more billionaires per head than any other country, and London, with 72, has more billionaires than any other city in the world. This indicates that that opportunities for private PAs are growing rapidly.
What does a private PA do?
A private PA is employed by an individual who may be an entrepreneur, business leader or other person who requires specialist help to run their business and personal lives. Roles may be full or part-time and can occasionally be home-based, but private PAs usually work from their employer’s household or business premises.
The duties of a private PA can vary widely, as there is no such thing as the ‘typical’ private PA. Duties could include organising meetings, parties and events; travel, including private yachts and jets; general accounts and administration; running homes both in the UK and abroad; liaison with family, children, partners and ex-partners; personal shopping; charity work; dealing with domestic staff.
All PAs need to have a wide range of fundamental skills, but there are certain qualities that are especially important in a private PA.:
Flexibility – Being a private PA is a role that requires complete flexibility. Your role can change on a daily basis. Indeed, you may be expecting to be working in London for the week for this to change and find yourself working in Europe or the Middle East for example.
Commitment – Because of the flexibility demanded, this is a job that requires total commitment. These are ever changing, dynamic roles and are certainly not for the faint hearted.
Discretion – Your employer will be an important and influential person, who may well be in a position of power or regularly be in the public eye. You need to be 100% trustworthy and have absolute discretion. You may well be privy to family or business issues that need dealing with tactfully.
Independence – You will spend large amounts of time working autonomously, whether in your employer’s home or offices, or even out and about in the car attending meetings, making purchases.
Languages – With an increasing number of foreign business people making London their home, language skills can be vitally important. Russian and Arabic are very useful, as are European languages such as French and German and East Asian ones such as Mandarin Chinese and Japanese.
Working as a private PA isn’t for everyone, but if you’re an Executive PA who is looking for a change of direction and has all the relevant flexibility, discretion and commitment required, it can be wonderful career full of opportunities and chances to develop. WIth London being the billionaire capital of the world, it’s a sector that looks set to grow and grow.
‘Till next time,