What should an administrative assistant earn?

Administrative assistants play a key role in various organizations. In the 2nd quarter of 2018, this predominantly female occupation was still among the most sought-for in the country, with 1,800 positions open in Quebec alone. But what salary can be expected?

Salaries vary…

In 2017, the average hourly wage for office administrative assistants was $21.22 per hour, but it can range from $15 to nearly $30 depending on the experience, business sector and size of company, according to a study by the Institut de la statistique du Québec published in November 2018.

In companies with more than 200 employees, those with regular full-time employment earned an average of $25.65 per hour, according to the study.

Public or private?

The pay is comparable in the private sector and in the public sector. Although initial salaries of administrative assistants are higher in the private sector, the gap narrows when taking account of social benefits, public holidays and sick leave, annual holidays and floating days off.

Union members better paid

In the private sector, administrative assistants do better in a unionized job. According to the Institut de la statistique du Québec, union members earned an average of $29.17 per hour in 2017, nearly $2 more than non-union members. With social benefits their pay rises to $46.51 per hour, compared to $38.75 per hour for non-union members.

Longer weeks in the private sector

But be careful! The weeks are longer in the largest private sector companies. In private sector companies with more than 500 employees, administrative assistants work on average 37 hours per week, compared to about 35 in the public sector. That is the equivalent of more than two weeks more work per year…

Salaries that are rising… but are still lower than elsewhere

In 2017, administrative assistants earned on average about $4 per hour more than a decade ago. The salary increased for the most experienced, from $24.09 to $29.12 per hour.

Although their pay is generally higher than in the services and restaurant sector, it is nonetheless still below that of the majority of jobs that require the same level of training, such as the trades and technical specialists in the engineering and health care sectors.

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