Overall employment of secretaries and administrative assistants is expected to grow 12 percent from 2010 to 2020, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Employment growth, however, will differ by occupational specialty.
Employment of executive secretaries and administrative assistants is projected to grow 13 percent from 2010 to 2020, about as fast as the average for all occupations, as these workers continue to provide high-level support for executives.
Employment of medical secretaries is projected to grow 41 percent from 2010 to 2020, much faster than the average for all occupations. Employment growth will be driven by rapid growth of the healthcare and social assistance industries. An anticipated increase in the use of medical services by an aging population will require many additional medical secretaries.
Employment of legal secretaries is expected to grow 4 percent from 2010 to 2020, slower than the average for all occupations. This slow employment growth is due primarily to the slower-than-average growth of the legal industry overall.
Employment of secretaries, except legal, medical, and executive, is expected to grow 6 percent from 2010 to 2020, slower than the average for all occupations. Although developments in office technology are certain to continue, many secretarial and administrative duties are of a personal, interactive nature and are not easily automated. Responsibilities such as planning meetings, working with clients, and instructing staff require tact and communication skills. Because technology cannot currently substitute for these interpersonal skills, secretaries and administrative assistants will continue to play a key role in most organizations.
In addition to jobs coming from employment growth, numerous job openings will arise from the need to replace secretaries and administrative assistants who transfer to other occupations or retire. Job opportunities should be best for applicants with extensive knowledge of computer software applications. Applicants with a bachelor's degree are expected to be in great demand and will act as managerial assistants who perform more complex tasks.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition