Executive assistant salary guide: what to pay your executive assistant (in 2024)

23 January 2024 Anastasia Kelly

Executive Assistant Salary 2024

As a busy HR manager or C-suite executive, looking for a top-quality executive assistant,  you want to know what constitutes the typical executive assistant salary. Of course, this depends on the level of professionalism, support and experience your role needs. As with all positions, the greater the experience and skills required, the greater the executive assistant salary you’ll need to consider offering. Naturally, a high-performing business partner executive assistant should secure a higher salary than someone in a more transactional role. 

Today, I’m going to share the latest executive assistant salary expectations for 2024. So, if you need to know the right salary package to offer a new team member, or to help you retain your current one, read on.

Administration-level executive assistant salary: $80,000-$120,000 per annum (ex-Super)

A transactional executive assistant provides administrative support and clerical assistance to the senior management of a company. Common tasks in the position description include: 

  • diary management 

  • scheduling meetings 

  • travel planning — booking flights and hotels, scheduling events and managing itineraries

  • preparing for meetings — agendas, minutes and presentations 

  • office management, including equipment upkeep, maintaining kitchen, stationery and office supplies  

  • running errands and providing additional support to the leadership team, as required 

The administrative executive assistant salary tends to reflect the size of the organisation. A smaller company, with an EA supporting the managing director or owner, may earn a little less than $80-120k. Similarly, if the executive assistant has fewer than one or two years of experience or lacks qualifications, the salary may be reduced. In regional areas, the salary may also be lower.

Business partner executive assistant salary: from $130,000–$160,000 per annum (ex-Super)

A business partner executive assistant is a higher grade of EA, giving senior strategic and top-level support to their executive. Bringing a superior quality of conversations and contributions to the table, their salary bracket reflects the valuable support provided to the executive, including: 

  • supporting the executive in the delivery of their KPIs 

  • helping the broader organisation achieve company goals 

  • taking full ownership of key areas of responsibility 

  • managing projects and making decisions to enable  the executive to focus on other core priorities 

  • providing top-level strategic insight and support for executive decision making 

  • acting on behalf of the executive in meetings, staff liaison and stakeholder management 

The business partner executive assistant tends to bring many years of experience as a top-tier EA within a particular industry niche, and are often tertiary qualified. This level of executive assistant seeks to partner closely with an executive, forming a strong working relationship. This partnership allows them to understand and anticipate needs, giving the executive a second pair of ears and eyes throughout the organisation. The business partner EA acts as a champion of the executive, supporting them to deliver their KPIs and acting as both a gatekeeper and gateway for communication. 

Chief of staff salary: $180,000–$250,000 per annum (ex-Super)

A chief of staff role is becoming increasingly common in the Australian corporate landscape. An even more senior position than the business partner executive assistant, their expected salary reflects the high level of contribution the chief of staff makes to the organisation. Able to operate at a stellar level, and having invested in their own education and development, these key team members easily demonstrate their worth.

The Chief of Staff is a senior member of the leadership team and is responsible for supporting, guiding and empowering the CEO to deliver on their KPIs, as well as supporting the broader organisational goals. A chief of staff acts as a co-pilot to the CEO. As a close and trusted advisor, the Chief of Staff should be unafraid to challenge and question the CEO when necessary. The chief of staff also acts as a go-between for executives, ensuring information flows readily between the c-suite, external stakeholders and the rest of the company. 

It’s not uncommon for chief of staff positions to attract a salary of around $200,000 in Australia. Although in recent years, the chief of staff role has been relatively rare; it’s now emerging as a highly valued position, mostly in larger organisations.

Sydney and Melbourne executive assistant salaries are on par 

In years past, salaries for executive assistants tended to be higher in Sydney. But in 2024, the executive assistant salary expectations in Sydney and Melbourne are largely the same. 

Indeed, I’ve noticed employers in both cities are increasingly willing to offer a salary of $130,000 plus, to attract the most experienced and skilled EAs to their roles.

Beyond salary, benefits vary

When it comes to benefits beyond salary for executive assistants, the range of options is wide. Many c-suite executives are known to be generous with long-serving EAs, offering birthday and anniversary gifts as a token of appreciation. Others will provide bonus schemes in line with other senior leaders in the organisation, which may be aligned with both individual performance and the achievement of company goals. I’m also seeing an encouraging increase in self-development and wellbeing benefits being offered with roles. 

Naturally, generous benefits and bonus schemes tend to attract a higher calibre of applications for vacant positions, so it’s worth considering how your organisation can attract quality candidates in this manner. 

Quantifying the ROI for your executive assistant salary

Even when current market trends are all pointing towards the increased appreciation for skilled and savvy executive assistants, I know that some HR departments or executives can struggle to justify the required budget. 

A quick exercise that can help quantify the costs versus benefits is to break down the hourly rate of the executive in need, and how many hours per week they spend on tasks that could be taken on by a highly competent EA. By multiplying the hourly rate of the executive by the number of hours spent, and comparing that figure to the weekly salary of an executive assistant, the cost savings quickly become apparent. Further to that, the time saved by the executive opens up time for growth and strategic activities, further increasing ROI.

To summarise: executive assistant salary ranges in Australia in 2024: 

  • Administrative executive assistant: $80,000-$120,000 pa

  • Strategic, business partner executive assistant: $130,000-$160,000 pa

  • Chief of staff: $180,000-$250,000 pa 

  • Sydney and Melbourne executive assistant salaries are closely aligned

Are you hiring an executive assistant?

Altitude EA can help find the ideal candidate. Contact Anastasia on  0421 16 55 96 or list your vacancy with us today.