Assistant of the future specializes in a certain area

Results international survey among 2000 European companies bundled in book

Almere, January 2013 – the modern European assistant is multidisciplinary, but
also specializes in specific areas of expertise such as project management, HR or
marketing. This is the profile of the future, according to European companies that employ assistants. Secretary Plus held a survey among 2000 large companies in seven European countries. The results of the survey are published in the book Connected that can be downloaded or requested for free on


2000 companies from the countries in which Secretary Plus mediates top assistants - the Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, France, Germany, Spain, Italy and Switzerland - took the survey. “As a company we have a strong innovative character. With this qualitative survey we wanted to gain insight in the trends and needs of our customers,” says Christine Van den Eynde, Vice President of Secretary Plus Europe. “Our work methods and the service we provide often stem from crowdsourcing methods like this.” The survey included questions on loyalty, trends, competences, digital working and the need for new services.

Client intimacy

The work area of the modern assistant is not limited to her country of origin. For instance, Spanish assistants move to Brussels or Poland to work for Spanish companies there. This is partly due to the economically challenging times, which make candidates look beyond borders when searching for a job. “If you want to be the point of reference in the market, you simply have to offer a competitive advantage. We call this client intimacy”, says Barbara Stadsbader, General Manager at Secretary Plus and Financial Forces in Belgium. “It means nothing more than offering the best you can, both for the client and for the candidate.” Van den Eynde: “I think one of the most important outcomes of the survey is the fact that European companies value mutual loyalty.”

Social media

Social media are increasingly important in finding people, keeping up with them or getting to know them. There are various kinds of social media uses, both for businesses and people: LinkedIn, Facebook, Xing, Twitter or Viadeo, they all connect people. Paulus Veltman, renowned social media expert said during his interview for the book Connected: “No social media. No job. No career.” The Belgian visionary Jo Caudron sees Twitter as a perfect way to strengthen relationships. “It’s almost an intimate way of keeping in touch with candidates. If someone tweets they are tense about their first working day and her contact at Secretary Plus replies with a tweet to wish her good luck, including a link to useful tips, then you are making a difference. That is what Secretary Plus stands for: “Expect More.”

The book Connected presents the results of the survey in six clear and very readable
chapters. The Vice President of Secretary Plus Europe and the Managing Directors of the seven countries Secretary Plus operates in give their vision on the assistant function in their region and talk about the way they proactively and innovatively react to trends in the market. Besides the results and the interviews with Secretary Plus staff, the book holds interviews with visionaries in the field of social media, talent development and the assisting profession. You will find interviews with Arjan Kapteijns, CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi | Leo Burnett Amsterdam – Lot Keijzer, marketing director at LinkedIn – Marina Stas, Personal Assistant of the President of the European Council, Herman van Rompuy – Jo Caudron, online and social media visionary – Paulus Veltman, social media expert – Lucian Tarnowski, founder of Brave New Talent – and top assistant Kelly van Keijzerswaard of Microsoft.
The book ‘Connected’ is available for free on