en

Services

The UK's leading employers trust us to deliver fast, efficient talent solutions that are tailored to their exact requirements. Browse our range of bespoke services and resources.

Read more
Jobs

Let our industry specialists listen to your aspirations and present your story to the most esteemed organisations in the UK, as we collaborate to write the next chapter of your successful career.

See all jobs
Candidates

Together, we’ll map out career-defining, life-changing pathways to achieve your career ambitions. Browse our range of services, advice, and resources.

Learn more
Services

The UK's leading employers trust us to deliver fast, efficient talent solutions that are tailored to their exact requirements. Browse our range of bespoke services and resources.

Read more
About Robert Walters UK

Since our establishment in 1985, our belief remains the same: Building strong relationships with people is vital in a successful partnership.

Learn more

Work for us

Our people are the difference. Hear stories from our people to learn more about a career at Robert Walters UK

Learn more

Your guide to working as a contract PA

Ever thought about being a contract PA? A fixed term contract role could be a savvy career move if you’re looking to build up experience working as a PA for different managers and directors across multiple sectors.

What are the demands of the role and why might contract be a worthwhile option for your career? Gain an insight into a day in the life of a real-life contract PA working for a leading international investment bank.

Why was contracting the right move for you?

After leaving my last role, I realised that it might be difficult to get a permanent role in the current market. This seemed like a good opportunity get into PA contracting as there were plenty of job options available to me. Contracting appealed to me because it is a really good way of seeing new ways of working and gaining experience of different working environments.

How did you start your business support career?

I started off in marketing and PR whilst I was living in France. It was when I moved to London eight years ago that I took my first role as a PA. I was tempted by the role because I could see similarities between the two careers – in sales and marketing, you are required to deal with internal clients and it’s exactly the same when you’re a PA.

Whilst you’re focusing on impressing at interview, think about whether you’ll enjoy the job as depending on your boss and the company, the role can, at times, be quite demanding and unpredictable.

A good PA now not only needs to be extremely organised and pro-active, but also act as an ambassador with great diplomacy and communication abilities. There’s also room for creativity and learning because I find myself exposed to business projects that my director is involved in, so as his PA, my involvement comes part and parcel with this.

What are the demands of your current role?

I am currently on a maternity cover contract as the PA to the Head of Corporate Governance. As part of my role, I organise a number of high-level meetings and I liaise with people from a variety of business areas – such as the fixed income and legal departments – on a daily basis. I am also required to deal with a lot of confidential information, so I need to be discreet at all times. For this reason, it’s really important that you build a high level of trust between yourself and your boss.

What skills do you need to succeed as a PA?

PA jobs have changed so much in the last ten years – before you needed to be a good administrator and IT literate but that in itself is not enough nowadays. A good PA now not only needs to be extremely organised and pro-active, but also act as an ambassador with great diplomacy and communication abilities. Good networking and project management skills are also very important.

What advice would you give to professionals looking to start a PA career?

Know what your skills are and sell them. However, you also need to recognise that actual skills aren’t everything - your behaviour and how you come across are very important too. A good relationship with your boss is crucial so if you don’t like him or her at your initial interview, it probably won’t work in the long run. Whilst you’re focusing on impressing at interview, think about whether you’ll enjoy the job as depending on your boss and the company, the role can, at times, be quite demanding and unpredictable.

Share this article

Useful links

Sign up for job alerts
Salary Survey
Career Advice
Get in touch

Find out more by contacting one of our specialist recruitment consultants

Related content

View All

Your guide to working as a financial services PA

A seasoned PA can be the backbone of their organisation, not solely their manager or director. One of the most rewarding support roles out there, working as a financial services PA, your performance helps drive a company to grow, innovate and achieve continuous success. A PA to six partners at FRP A

Read More

Your guide to working as an EA

Looking to make the move into an EA role? Executive assistants carry many of the same duties as personal assistants – with organisations skills and an effective supporter and facilitator to their superior. However, adopting an EA role involves a level of strategic and forward-thinking, keeping thing

Read More

Your guide to working as a property PA

Are you an aspiring support professional with an interest in the property market? Progressing to a property PA could be a smart and rewarding career move. Robert Walters heard from a PA at one of the biggest property businesses in the world about her career. Take a look at her advice for aspiring PA

Read More

I'm Robert Walters Are you?

Come join our global team of creative thinkers, problem solvers and game changers. We offer accelerated career progression, a dynamic culture and expert training.