Study: Administrative Professionals Need More Tech Training

Office professionals are often left relying on themselves when it comes to professional development, according to the International Association of Administrative Professionals, which is urging employers to increase skills training for these workers, especially in the area of technology.

As offices and workplaces continue to embrace cloud and mobile technologies, administrative professionals say they lack sufficient training to keep up with the changes, according to the International Association of Administrative Professionals.

What IAAP has is thousands of administrative professionals who have experience  and a network of information and resources. So we connect our members to learn from one another.

“Administrative staff isn’t being given the training they need to use the evolving mobile and cloud technologies that are being rapidly adopted by corporations, organizations, and governments,” IAAP said in a statement [PDF].

After compiling and analyzing its own data as well as data from other industries, IAAP developed an infographic illustrating the technology skills gap among administrative professionals.

For example, the association found that three out of four of these professionals said the most significant issue they face at work is keeping pace with changing technology. Roughly 6 million North American administrative professionals—that’s three out of five—also say their employers provide 10 hours of training or less every year. And one-third of office professionals said they are responsible for their own training at work.

Meanwhile, IAAP cited studies illustrating recent advancements in technology, such as a recent Pew survey in which 71 percent of respondents predicted they would be doing most if not all of their tasks at work using mobile or cloud technology by 2020.

“A lot of times companies are investing in the infrastructure of working virtually and working remotely, but they are not spending the money necessary for professional development for the administrator who is really the one who’s implementing all those great new infrastructures,” said Tarah Brown, IAAP marketing manager.

In an Administrative Professionals Skills 2011 Benchmarking Survey, the association found that the top area in which these professionals were seeking training was computer software applications. Not only are the applications important for office professionals to get their day-to-day work done, but 60 percent of respondents also said they were responsible for troubleshooting and teaching coworkers how to use software.

These professionals “are kind of the gatekeepers for a lot of the C-suite, and the C-suite isn’t taking the time, or doesn’t have the time, to really sit down and delve into how to learn a new feature on their smartphone or how to open a presentation or their iPad,” Brown said. “It’s the office professional who’s really responsible for doing that and then training their executives on how to use it most efficiently.”

The technology skills gap was a key issue members brought up during a recent IAAP strategic planning initiative and one the association is addressing through conferences, such as its annual Technology Education Conference, webinars, and networking opportunities.

“What IAAP has is thousands of administrative professionals who have experience and a network of information and resources,” Brown said. “So we connect our members to learn from one another.”


Katie Bascuas

By Katie Bascuas

Katie Bascuas is associate editor of Associations Now. MORE

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