The Difference Between Personal Assistant And Executive Assistant

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Published on December 20, 2017

When looking to recruit for a position, it is important to clearly define the job spec and establish what you are looking for.  One question that is commonly asked is the difference between personal assistant and executive assistant – is there one?

Yes – there most certainly is!  And depending on which you are looking for, will affect the applications and in turn the suitability of the candidates.

So what is the difference between personal assistant and executive assistant?

Personal Assistant

The term personal assistant can be quite widely used.  A personal assistant is an assistant to a person and gives them a wide range of support and duties.  Typically a personal assistant is generally associated with a private individual, for example, a celebrity, sportsman, or entrepreneur, and they have an intimate and working knowledge of the daily schedule from both personal and working life.  Often working with the private settings of homes and private spaces.

Types of duties typically performed by a personal assistant include:

  • Welcoming & Contact
  • Diary Management
  • Birthday/Christmas and Gift Buying/Sending
  • Note taking
  • Travel Arrangements
  • Call Handling
  • Email Handling
  • Reminders
  • Planning & Organisation of Events
  • Reminder/Deadlines
  • Book Keeping
  • Research
A great assistant will be flexible and adaptive Click To Tweet

The personal assistant is in charge of all aspects of duties that you might require them to be, from making a cup of coffee to running errands or even dog walking (!), a great personal assistant will be willing to accomplish the above tasks to a high level.  They may work for an individual or an entire family.

Executive Assistant

An executive assistant is more commonly associated with the business and corporate world.  A CEO, for example, may have a personal PA, and then an Executive Assistant (giving them the highest ranking in the office team).  Due to the highest level of responsibilities often placed on the shoulders of CEOs and managing directors, it is vital that the executive assistant has the background and intelligence to support them accordingly.

Their duties and skills may include those of a personal assistant, but might also include:

  • Book Keeping to a higher level
  • Accountancy Skills
  • Pay Roll
  • Hiring/Firing/Recruitment of Staff
  • Advanced knowledge of specific working deals or projects
  • Ability to step in to speak on behalf of the CEO/MD if required
  • Advanced IT skills
  • Management Skills
  • Team leading

The executive assistant as you can see, takes a higher level of business skills, with the ability to closely follow the business workings and not just the personal life of the individual.  It is, of course, possible to combine the skill sets, and depending on what you need, will depend on what type of assistant you look to hire.  A great assistant will be flexible and adaptive, and it will be easy to spot from their previous roles and CV history and education where their skill set lay.

If you need help recruiting your next personal assistant or executive assistant we would love to help you with any advice or starting a new search.  Why not get in touch with us today and see how we can help you?


  1. Darrell Cox says:

    I need a personal assistant, In what way can you help?

    • mm LucyChallenger says:

      Hello Darrell, we can help you with the search from start to placement, searching specifically for the requirements you might have. One of my colleagues will be in touch to discuss your specific requirements and if we can help with any other questions. Thank you for reaching out to us!

  2. Alice Nakyazze says:

    I am seeking for entry level of personal assistant position where i can develope computer skill and utilize my organisation and time managements skill

    • mm LucyChallenger says:

      Thank you Alice. The best thing to do is to register at our website here. Then when future entry level roles come in, you can apply for them anytime! Good luck with your job search!

  3. Melva says:

    I quite like looking through a post that can make people think.
    Also, many thanks for allowing for me to comment!

  4. Jennifer Iacovelli says:

    Is there a job title that is somewhere between personal and executive assistant duties?

    • Aafke Meelen says:

      Great question! There isn’t another job title that covers both duties at the same time. Many Personal Assistants cross over to doing company/business work too, so that title would cover the role best!

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