It’s Administrative Professionals Day, and while we thank those in administrative support roles we’d like to address some of the banter surrounding the observance.
Formerly Secretaries Day, the observance of support positions was instituted in the U.S. in 1952; It is celebrated internationally as well — Hong Kong, Malaysia, New Zealand, and South Africa. The week-long celebration occurs on the last full week of April, with the official date of observance falling on Wednesday.
As good intention-ed as Administrative Professionals day is, there has been concern over the observances patronizing of admin professionals.
Having a special holiday for administrative workers separates admins from the rest of the office, marking their work as somehow different from other professional occupations. – Allison Green, US News
However, managers often feel they run the risk of upsetting members in administrative roles due to not participating. This ultimately creates a Catch-22 situation.
Furthermore, it has been debated that the role of Admin Professional it has become gender specific due to the gifts given — flowers, cards, candy, celebratory luncheon, etc.
It has turned the observance into a dilemma for corporate culture with some calling for an end to Administrative Professionals Day.
Additionally, the situation becomes even more convoluted when some admin professionals are actually of a higher pay grade than their co-workers. Why is that?
As mentioned before, the observance was prior to known as Secretaries Day. However, with the expanding roles some secretaries were given, it has the made the position within the corporate structure of even greater importance. Therefore in some scenarios it may actually come across backwards to shower the admin role with gifts — we’re sure they don’t go unappreciated though.
Yet, there remains an even more complex matter relating to compensation.
As described above, some admin roles receive greater pay than their office counterparts. Also mentioned above was the discussion of this role having become genderized towards women with the wage gap between males and females in the workplace further adding to the banter surrounding this observance.
April 12th 2016 was Equal Pay Day, a date designed to address the workplace wage gap. Observing the conversation on Twitter, it is evident that the battle for fair compensation on a large scale for women is still being fought.
If women primarily occupy this position, yet do not receive fair compensation and instead are given an observance consisting of a breakfast/luncheon, is Administrative Professionals Day more patronizing than prosperous? From our vantage point at TA, it certainly seems that instituting equal compensation and nixing the observance seems logical.
One thing is for certain, the age old battle of the sexes wages on.
What are your thoughts on the observance? Do you feel it undermines the role of admin support in organizations? Have the traditions genderized the role? What do males serving in admin support roles think? Leave a comment and help keep the conversation going.