Executive assistant salary guide: what to pay your executive assistant (in 2022)

25 November 2021 Anastasia Kelly

Executive Assistant Salary Guide

Many HR managers and c-suite executives want to know what constitutes the typical executive assistant salary. Of course, it depends on the level of professionalism, support and experience. As with all positions, the greater the experience and skills, the greater the executive assistant salary. Naturally, a high-performing business partner executive assistant can secure a higher salary than someone in an office administration role. 

Today, I’m going to share the latest executive assistant salary expectations for 2022. So if you are curious about what executive assistants earn, read on. 

Administration-level executive assistant salary: about $80,000-$100,000 per annum

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 management, 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 $80-100k. 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 than the $80-$100,000 bracket. 

Business partner executive assistant salary: from $120,000–$150,000 per annum 

A business partner executive assistant is a higher grade of EA, providing senior strategic and top-level support to their executive. This executive assistant salary reflects the high level of support provided to the executive, including: 

  • supporting the executive in the delivery of their KPIs 

  • supporting the broader organisation in the achievement of company goals 

  • taking ownership of key areas of responsibility 

  • managing projects and making decisions that allow 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, both as a high-level EA and within a particular industry niche. Top-level executive assistants seek to partner closely with an executive, forming a strong working relationship, which 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–$230,000 per annum 

A chief of staff role is becoming increasingly common in the Australian corporate landscape. This is an even more senior position than the business partner executive assistant, with a salary to reflect the high level of contribution the chief of staff makes on the organisation. 

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 is not uncommon for chief of staff positions to attract a salary of around $200,000 in Australia. In recent years, the chief of staff role has been relatively rare; it is 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 2022, the executive assistant salary expectations in Sydney and Melbourne are largely the same. 

Indeed, employers looking for the top-level executive assistants are increasingly willing to offer a salary of $130,000, in order to attract the most experienced and skilled EAs to the role. 

Beyond salary, benefits vary

When it comes to benefits beyond salary and bonuses for executive assistants, it varies greatly. 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. It all varies on the nature of the company, the executive and the HR policies of the organisation. 

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

To summarise: executive assistant salary ranges in Australia in 2022: 

  • Administrator executive assistant: $80,000-$100,000 pa

  • Strategic, business partner executive assistant: $120,000-$150,000 pa

  • Chief of staff: $180,000 - $230,000 pa 

  • Sydney and Melbourne executive assistant salaries are on par 

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.