Glasgow Caledonian University is named ‘Employer of the Year 2018' in Scottish PA Awards | Glasgow Chamber of Commerce
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Glasgow Caledonian University is named ‘Employer of the Year 2018' in Scottish PA Awards

Glasgow Caledonian University has been named Employer of the Year 2018 in the Scottish PA of the Year Awards.

The awards are run as part of the Scottish PA Network Conference, in association with recruiting experts Hays PA & Secretarial, to showcase the crucial role that personal assistants make in today's workplace.

The Employer of the Year award recognises employers who demonstrate best practice in recruitment, retention and development opportunities specifically for personal assistants and administrative personnel.

Julie Burns is head of the vice-chancellor’s office at Glasgow Caledonian University, where Professor Pamela Gillies has been principal and vice-chancellor since 2006.

“I am delighted that GCU has very deservedly won Employer of the Year,” Julie says. “We are really fortunate to work with an executive team who support our learning and development. Our assistants are actively encouraged to become involved in all the university’s strategic initiatives to increase our business acumen.  It’s fantastic to work for an organisation which truly values and supports the vital role of the assistant.”   

Members of the 11-strong executive support team have been supported through Masters degrees and leadership training and are all proud Fellow members of the Executive & Personal Assistants Association (EPAA), which champions and promotes the assistant profession.

Elaine Anderson is senior executive assistant in the team and one of her varied tasks is managing the academic procession on graduation days.

“There’s such a lot of preparation work goes into our graduation days, where we can have up to 1,200 students a day crossing the stage with around 3,000 members of their family in the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall,” says Elaine. “We do around eight ceremonies a year. For us, it’s a privilege to be involved in those days, because it’s the culmination of the students’ hard work and dedication. We love those weeks of graduation, and the opportunity to see the pride of the students with their family and friends.”

Nearly 100 personal and executive assistants from across Scotland attended the Scottish PA Conference and Awards at the Glasgow Central Hilton DoubleTree hotel.

Roddy Adair, director for Hays PA & Secretarial in Scotland, said the role of the PA was changing from traditional diary management or organising travel into a more strategic function.

“From a PA’s point of view, a good employer is someone who recognises that evolution of the role and involves PAs in the decision-making process, allowing them to understand the business as a whole,” Adair says. “PAs hold a lot of power in organisations now, so it’s all about investing in training and personal development and recognising the PA as a career choice.”

While many big businesses have been consolidating, Hays has seen growing demand from medium-sized businesses or new businesses recruiting their first PA.

“We’re also seeing a change in job title from the traditional secretary role, to reflect those changing responsibilities,” Adair adds. “So PAs are business support managers, business support executives and executive assistants. We’re also seeing an increase in virtual assistants – PAs who work from home, who have far more work-life balance, and maybe work on behalf of a number of different clients. That’s a trend that’s growing in the market.” 

Hays supports PA talent in Scotland through tailored events and its specialist PA/secretarial team.

For more information on Hays PA & Secretarial go to

Pictured: Julie Burns, head of the vice-chancellor’s office at Glasgow Caledonian University, collecting Employer of the Year award in Scottish PA Awards 2018.

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