Typically, a private personal assistant is a person who helps an individual to either manage a private household or manage personal-related tasks. Every personal assistant job description contains specific duties that a private personal assistant should undertake.
This article sheds light on how private personal assistants are different from business administrators, what skills they need to possess and the range of common daily tasks they usually perform.
What is A Private Personal Assistant?
When it comes to the job of a private personal assistant, it can sometimes be associated with business administration and office management. However, the range of daily tasks performed by a personal assistant for private individuals is often wider-reaching.
If, for example, it is a household personal assistant job, the candidate may need to work on housekeeping along with paperwork and bookkeeping. The daily tasks of a personal assistant may vary, though the concept of the job remains the same - to handle the tasks delegated by other people.
Taking care of other people’s assignments is a highly responsible role, so a private personal assistant needs to be someone who can be relied upon. Busy people need to be able to entrust their tasks to a competent individual, and private personal assistants are often privy to highly confidential information, so they need to be discreet and uphold their employer’s reputation.
According to our PA salary survey, a private PA earns, on average, £72,000 per annum, with the highest earners taking home circa £135,000 per annum.
Working with Celebrities and High Net Worth Individuals
The role of a private personal assistant takes on an additional layer of complexity and excitement when working with celebrities and high-net-worth individuals. In these scenarios, the private PA is not just managing day-to-day tasks but also navigating the unique demands of a high-profile lifestyle.
For celebrities, a private personal assistant may be involved in managing schedules around filming, tours, or public appearances, ensuring privacy and handling media interactions with tact. They might also be responsible for coordinating with other staff members, such as managers, agents, and publicists, to ensure a seamless flow of communication and scheduling.
High-net-worth individuals may require their private PAs to handle complex travel arrangements, manage luxury properties, plan exclusive events, and even oversee financial transactions or investments. The assistant must be adept at operating in high-pressure environments and capable of making informed decisions quickly.
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Private Personal Assistant Duties & Responsibilities
The range of tasks associated with the private personal assistant job may vary from responding to telephone calls to taking care of laundry. Also the same goes for the working hours - those might range from 2-3 hours a day to irregular schedules, especially when it comes to assisting extremely busy people.
When applying for a private PA job, you should pay particular attention to the job description, including the duties and qualifications required, as those might differ from one place to another.
The list of tasks for personal assistants usually consists of but is not limited to:
- Scheduling meetings: Coordinating dates, times, and locations for business and personal meetings.
- Managing personal documentation: Handling important documents such as contracts, legal papers, or personal correspondence.
- Answering emails and phone calls: Managing communication on behalf of the employer, including filtering and prioritising messages.
- Event organisation: Planning and coordinating events, from intimate gatherings to large-scale parties, including venue selection, catering, and guest management.
- Preparing reports: Compiling information and preparing reports for personal or business use.
- Making travel arrangements: Booking flights, hotels, and transportation and creating detailed travel itineraries.
- Running the household: Overseeing household staff, managing budgets, and ensuring smooth operation of all household activities.
- Running personal errands: Shopping for groceries, picking up dry cleaning, or performing other personal tasks as needed.
- Financial management: Overseeing personal finances, including bill payments, budgeting, and liaising with accountants or financial advisors.
- Liaising with other staff: Coordinating with other staff members such as chefs, gardeners, and security personnel to ensure all aspects of the household run smoothly.
- Personal shopping: Assisting with personal shopping, from everyday items to gift purchasing for special occasions.
- Healthcare coordination: Managing medical appointments, liaising with healthcare providers, and ensuring prescriptions are filled.
- Childcare arrangements: Coordinating schedules for children, including school, extracurricular activities, and childcare.
- Pet care: Managing appointments for pet grooming, veterinary visits, and ensuring pets are cared for.
- Property management: Overseeing maintenance and upkeep of properties, including liaising with contractors and managing renovations or repairs.
- Vehicle maintenance: Arranging for car servicing, repairs and ensuring vehicles are kept in good condition.
- Social media management: Handling social media accounts, posting updates, and managing online presence for privacy and reputation management.
What Skills & Qualifications Do You Need to Be A Private PA?
As in any profession, the PA role description and job title give a brief representation of what type of skills and qualifications are expected from the candidate.
Below you will find the common skills, experience and qualifications usually expected for a private personal assistant role.
Discretion and confidentiality
When working closely with individuals, especially those in high-profile positions or with significant wealth, personal assistants are often privy to sensitive information. This can range from personal financial details to private family matters and even confidential business strategies.
A private PA must be able to handle such information with the utmost discretion, ensuring that no confidential details are disclosed inappropriately. This requires a strong ethical framework, the ability to discern what information can be shared and with whom, and often, a formal understanding of confidentiality agreements.
The ability to maintain discretion also extends to the personal assistant's conduct and communication. They must be adept at navigating conversations without divulging private information and, at times, managing inquiries from external parties such as the media or business associates.
This skill is so crucial that it often becomes a defining factor in the longevity and success of a private PA's relationship with their employer. Trust is the foundation of this role.
Knowing basic bookkeeping, task scheduling, and paperwork management is key to handling an executive’s tasks. While there is no specific degree needed to show this skill, a bachelor’s degree in Marketing, Communications, or modern language can place you at an advantage.
Knowing basic bookkeeping, task scheduling, and paperwork management is key to handling an executive’s tasks.
For instance, a private PA might be responsible for managing household budgets, ensuring bills are paid on time, or organising a complex schedule of meetings and appointments.
The daily scope of duties requires a private personal assistant to resolve tasks delegated by the individual. These might include troubleshooting unexpected issues like last-minute travel changes or resolving conflicts in scheduling.
A personal assistant should always make the right decisions when needed, acting intelligently and with initiative. For example, if an important document needs to be delivered on a tight deadline, the PA might need to find a reliable courier service at short notice.
Digitalisation has become a part of our everyday lives. Many tasks are already registered and handled with the help of computers, so a personal assistant should be highly computer-literate.
This includes proficiency in office software, email management, and using online tools for efficiency. For example, a PA might use a digital calendar to manage their employer's schedule or a financial management app for tracking expenses.
Other skills, such as photo editing or photo retouching, would be an advantage but not required..
Individuals aim to delegate many tasks to their personal assistants, so multitasking is a highly desired skill. A PA might need to juggle organising a business event while also managing household staff and coordinating travel plans. Therefore, it is crucial to understand how to coordinate tasks, prioritise, and complete them on time.
Working with highly influential people and business executives means that everything must be appropriately planned, executed professionally, and delivered on time.
A PA might need to meticulously plan a week's schedule to ensure that all meetings, personal commitments, and travel arrangements are efficiently organised without any overlaps or conflicts.
Another important skill that is highly desired for a private personal assistant is the ability to communicate well with businesspeople and their partners. This includes not only verbal communication but also written correspondence.
A personal assistant is usually in charge of answering phone calls and managing stakeholder relationships, so good communication skills are necessary. For example, a PA might need to draft an email on behalf of their employer, ensuring it conveys the right tone and information.
Whether a private PA is joining a business or a household, organisational skills are a must. This might involve creating systems for managing household inventories, planning events, or keeping track of important documents.
A PA is often in charge of personal and office management tasks, so knowing how to spin many plates without getting overwhelmed is essential.
Attention to detail
As personal assistants usually do administrative work, including answering phone calls, bookkeeping, arranging events, and even household management, they need to pay attention to every detail and let nothing slide.
Even a minor mistake, like overlooking a dietary restriction in event planning or missing a deadline for a bill payment, can negatively affect the individual’s schedule they are working for.
Looking for a Private PA Job in London? Oriel Partners Can Assist You!
If you are looking for a private personal assistant role in London, then Oriel Partners is the right place to come. We have a talent for matching talented private personal assistants with the ideal position. View our job board for our latest private PA roles.