Administrative assistants are one of the least happy careers in the United States.

At CareerExplorer, we conduct an ongoing survey with millions of people and ask them how satisfied they are with their careers. As it turns out, administrative assistants rate their career happiness 2.6 out of 5 stars which puts them in the bottom 8% of careers.

To put this into perspective, we compared how happy administrative assistants are to similar careers in the industry. Take a look at the results below:

Salaries and satisfaction ratings in similar careers

Career Satisfaction Avg Salary
Bookkeeper
2.7
$46k
Mail superintendent
2.7
$80k
Recruiter
2.7
$62k
Switchboard operator
2.7
$30k
Courier
2.7
$33k
Administrative assistant
2.6
$38k
Receptionist
2.6
$30k
Office clerk
2.6
$37k
Financial clerk
2.5
$46k
Underwriter
2.5
$76k

So what does it mean to be happy in your career? Let’s break it down into different dimensions:

  • Salary: Are administrative assistants happy with their salary?
  • Meaning: Do administrative assistants find their jobs meaningful?
  • Personality fit: How well suited are people’s personalities to their everyday tasks as administrative assistants?
  • Work environment: How enjoyable are administrative assistant’s work environments?
  • Skills utilization: Are administrative assistants making the best use of their abilities?

Are administrative assistants happy with their salary?

Administrative assistants rated their satisfaction with their salaries 2.8/5. Administrative assistants tend to be quite unhappy with their salary, with very few reporting satisfaction with their pay.

We asked administrative assistants how fairly compensated they are for their work.
Their response was:

2.8 out of 5 stars

7133 administrative assistants

5 Star
9%

9% of administrative assistants rated their compensation 5 stars

4 Star
22%

22% of administrative assistants rated their compensation 4 stars

3 Star
29%

29% of administrative assistants rated their compensation 3 stars

2 Star
23%

23% of administrative assistants rated their compensation 2 stars

1 Star
17%

17% of administrative assistants rated their compensation 1 stars

Do administrative assistants find their jobs meaningful?

On average, administrative assistants rate the meaningfulness of their work a 2.2/5. The majority of administrative assistants struggle to find any sort of meaning in their work, likely resulting in less satisfaction with the career overall.

We asked administrative assistants how meaningful they found their work.
Their response was:

2.2 out of 5 stars

7139 administrative assistants

5 Star
5%

5% of administrative assistants rated how meaningful they found their career 5 stars

4 Star
9%

9% of administrative assistants rated how meaningful they found their career 4 stars

3 Star
20%

20% of administrative assistants rated how meaningful they found their career 3 stars

2 Star
29%

29% of administrative assistants rated how meaningful they found their career 2 stars

1 Star
37%

37% of administrative assistants rated how meaningful they found their career 1 stars

How well are people’s personalities suited to everyday tasks as administrative assistants?

Administrative assistants rated their personality fit with their work an average of 3.5/5. The majority of administrative assistants find their personalities quite well suited to their work, with relatively few having complaints about their fit.

We asked administrative assistants how well their personalities fit into their careers.
Their response was:

3.5 out of 5 stars

7693 administrative assistants

5 Star
23%

23% of administrative assistants rated their career fit 5 stars

4 Star
33%

33% of administrative assistants rated their career fit 4 stars

3 Star
25%

25% of administrative assistants rated their career fit 3 stars

2 Star
11%

11% of administrative assistants rated their career fit 2 stars

1 Star
7%

7% of administrative assistants rated their career fit 1 stars

How enjoyable is an administrative assistant’s work environment?

As a whole, administrative assistants rated their enjoyment of their work environment 3.3/5. Most of them tend to enjoy, or at least not be actively bothered by, their work environment.

We asked administrative assistants how much they enjoyed their work environment.
Their response was:

3.3 out of 5 stars

7700 administrative assistants

5 Star
17%

17% of administrative assistants rated their work environment 5 stars

4 Star
30%

30% of administrative assistants rated their work environment 4 stars

3 Star
28%

28% of administrative assistants rated their work environment 3 stars

2 Star
17%

17% of administrative assistants rated their work environment 2 stars

1 Star
10%

10% of administrative assistants rated their work environment 1 stars

Are administrative assistants making the best use of their abilities?

Former administrative assistants on CareerExplorer have rated their skills utilization 2.4/5. Most feel that their skills are being underutilized in the career, probably leading to more general dissatisfaction with being an administrative assistant.

We asked administrative assistants how well their abilities were used in their careers.
Their response was:

2.4 out of 5 stars

7727 administrative assistants

5 Star
8%

8% of administrative assistants rated their how well their skills were utilized in their career 5 stars

4 Star
13%

13% of administrative assistants rated their how well their skills were utilized in their career 4 stars

3 Star
22%

22% of administrative assistants rated their how well their skills were utilized in their career 3 stars

2 Star
29%

29% of administrative assistants rated their how well their skills were utilized in their career 2 stars

1 Star
29%

29% of administrative assistants rated their how well their skills were utilized in their career 1 stars