It’s official: we can now call secretaries ‘secretaries’

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A professional association says it has detected a two-fold increase in the use of ‘secretary’ as a job title, despite the use of the title having previously been in steep decline.

Since the 1980s the title ‘secretary’ has been tossed aside in favour of more modern-sounding names such as administrative or executive assistant. But new survey results from the International Association of Administration Professionals (IAAP) say 3,300 of its members can’t be wrong – ‘secretary’ is back in fashion.

“This shift marks a reversal of popularity for a job title that has been in decline for at least 20 years,” the IAAP said. The IAAP added that it was unclear as to why there are suddenly more secretaries, but suggested it may be due to a ‘Mad Men Effect’. The drama program set in an advertising agency in New York during the 1960s has achieved cult-status, and the IAAP speculated that the program “may stoke nostalgia for the classic image of the corporate secretary”.

The survey found “executive assistant” and “administrative assistant” continue to be most common job titles, “administrative secretary” made the top three for the first time in several years, the association said. The number of admins with ‘secretary’ in their titles nearly doubled in two years, from 8% to nearly 15%.

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