The role of the personal assistant, or PA, has expanded and secretaries are now playing a much more central role in the office, an expert has claimed.
Rachel Jones of Search Consultancy said that instead of lower-level tasks like taking telephone messages, PAs were now involved in project management roles and using their initiative to resolve major issues.
"A good PA will command the respect of her boss and her peers and very often things would fall apart far more quickly if the PA falls sick than a member of the executive team," she told Onrec.com.
She also stated that these days good PAs were professionals in their own right and could expect to earn a middle-management salary.
However, a recent poll from Pitman Training revealed that some bosses relied on their PAs so much that they expected them to perform sometimes inappropriate tasks.
Researching colonic irrigation, putting up posters for lost cats and taking the boss's father to the seaside were just some of the more bizarre requests reported.