Administrative Professionals Week (a.k.a Administrative Assistants Week, Secretaries Week)
Administrative Professionals Week®
Always observed annually during the last FULL week in April, standard Sunday through Saturday calendar week.
April 23-29, 2006
April 22-28, 2007
April 20-26, 2008
Administrative Professionals Day®
Observed annually the Wednesday of Administrative Professionals Week
April 26, 2006
April 25, 2007
April 23, 2008
History of Administrative Professionals Week:
This annual event was originally organized in 1952 as "National Secretaries Week" by the National Secretaries Association (now known as the International Association of Administrative Professionals) in conjunction with public relations executive Harry Klemfuss and a consortium of office product manufacturers. It was established as an effort to recognize secretaries for their contributions in the workplace, and to attract people to secretarial/administrative careers. In the year 2000, IAAP announced a name change for Professional Secretaries Week and Professional Secretaries Day. The names were changed to Administrative Professionals Week and Administrative Professionals Day to keep pace with changing job titles and expanding responsibilities of today’s administrative workforce.
Over the years, Administrative Professionals Week has become one of the largest workplace observances. The event is celebrated worldwide, bringing together millions of people for community events, educational seminars, and individual corporate activities recognizing support staff with gifts of appreciation.
IAAP suggests that employers observe Administrative Professionals Week by providing training for their administrative staff through seminars, continuing education or self-study materials. Another suggestion is to make a commitment toward delegating responsibilities that better utilize the skills of administrative professionals.
Today, there are more than 4.1 million secretaries and administrative assistants working in the United States, according to U.S. Department of Labor statistics, and 8.9 million people working in various administrative support roles. More than 475,000 administrative professionals are employed in Canada. Millions more administrative professionals work in offices all over the world.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q. When and why was this annual event created?
A. Administrative Professionals Week (and "Day"), formerly known as Professional Secretaries Week, was created as an annual opportunity to recognize the valuable contributions of office support staff in business and government and to encourage students to consider secretarial careers. Administrative Professionals Week is always held annually during the last full week in April (standard Sunday through Saturday calendar week). Administrative Professionals Day is always held the Wednesday of that week.
Since its inception in 1952, APW has been sponsored solely by IAAP, although when APW was first observed, IAAP was then known as the National Secretaries Association. A common public misconception is that APW was created by flower distributors, candy companies, or greeting card manufacturers so they could sell more products. The truth, however, is that while gifts often are appreciated, this event was never meant to obligate employers or managers to give gifts.
APW has become one of the largest workplace observances. Celebrated worldwide, APW brings together millions of people for community events and seminars, with individual bosses recognizing their support staff. IAAP’s objectives for APW are to:
- Educate the public about administrative professionals’ expanding roles and value in the business world.
- Enhance the profession’s image.
- Encourage people to consider administrative careers.
- Promote lifelong learning, certification, and professional development.
IAAP members and staff use APW as a powerful opportunity to work toward these objectives—often simply by serving as role models.
Q. Who Qualifies as an "Administrative Professional?
A. In 2000, IAAP changed Professional Secretaries Week and Professional Secretaries Day to Administrative Professionals Week and Administrative Professionals Day® (APD) to keep pace with admins’ changing job titles and expanding responsibilities. Research shows that many workers around the world still hold the “secretary” job title; however, many alternative titles have become more popular, such as administrative assistant, office coordinator, administrative specialist, executive assistant, and office manager.
While all secretaries are covered under the umbrella term “administrative professional,” not all admins hold the title of “secretary”. The name change to Administrative Professionals Week and Administrative Professionals Day expands the event to include other administrative job titles that also richly deserve recognition.
In its association bylaws, IAAP defines administrative professionals as “individuals who are responsible for administrative tasks and coordination of information in support of an office-related environment and who are dedicated to furthering their personal and professional growth in their chosen profession.”
Employers may use the above definition as a guide. IAAP also suggests that organizations be more inclusive than exclusive when deciding who deserves recognition during APW.
Q. What is the Best Way to Celebrate Administrative Professionals Week?
A. According to a recent surveys of IAAP members, administrative support personnel prefer observances that recognize their expanded role or provide opportunities for learning and growth.
Employers can facilitate professional development for admins by supporting:
- Tuition reimbursement to attend college classes and work toward a degree.
- Membership and participation in professional organizations.
- Reimbursement for online training programs in technology, administrative, and management skills.
- Registration for appropriate conferences, seminars, and continuing education workshops.
- Attainment of professional certification. IAAP’s Certified Administrative Professional (CAP) or Certified Professional Secretary (CPS) programs are widely recognized standards of excellence.
Many IAAP chapters hold outstanding educational programs and networking events during APW. Employers may consider sending staff to one of these events. A searchable database of IAAP chapter events, news releases, and other resources are available on the APW/APD page on the IAAP website at www.iaap-hq.org/APW/apwindex.htm.
Additional gift suggestions include business-related items, such as personalized business cards, desktop name-plate, gift certificate, ergonomically correct accessories, computer hardware/software upgrade, or monetary bonus for exemplary performance.
APW also is an excellent time to open lines of communication. It’s an opportunity to discuss training needs and make a commitment toward delegating responsibilities that better use admins’ skills. In a 2005 benchmarking survey, IAAP members indicated their greatest training needs were in computer software applications, technology applications (such as Web conferencing), supervisory/management skills, project management, and public speaking/presentation skills.
If executives still are unsure about the best way to celebrate APW, it’s always wise to ask their admins what they would prefer. However, no token of appreciation given during APW will matter if administrative employees are not treated with respect and appreciation during the entire year.
Q. I'm an administrative professional -- my employer doesn't recognize our office staff during Administrative Professionals Week -- how can I make this event more meaningful?
A. Here are some ways individual administrative professionals can use the annual APW observance as an opportunity to set professional development goals and serve more effectively as role models for the profession:
- Mentor and train others. Work with entry-level administrative support staff and students and show them the advantages of pursuing a career as an administrative professional.
- Identify goals for personal and professional growth. Then set a date for accomplishing them and monitor your progress.
- Take steps to learn and master new software applications. Especially important are Microsoft Office products, including Outlook (for scheduling, calendaring, and meeting management), FrontPage, and Excel. Desktop publishing skills also are in high demand.
- Read up on or take a course in project management—that's one of the most in-demand skills now requested of admins. Apply what you learn to managing projects at home and work.
- Volunteer. It broadens your skill base, expands your network, and keeps your mind active. Look for opportunities where you can add new skills to your resume. Assume the role of treasurer to hone accounting or bookkeeping skills, or edit a newsletter to learn desktop publishing skills and improve your research, writing, and editing skills.
- Take pride in your work. Approach all projects with a high level of integrity and professionalism.
Information From www.iaap-hq.org
Contact The International Association of Administrative Professionals:
International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP)
10502 N.W. Ambassador Drive, PO Box 20404
Kansas City, Missouri 64195-0404
Phone (816) 891-6600 extension 2239
Fax: (816) 891-9118
IAAP Web site: www.iaap-hq.org