Professionals Day (also known as Administrative Professionals’ Day, Secretaries Day or Admin Day) is an unofficial secular holiday observed in several countries to recognize the work of secretaries, administrative assistants, receptionists, and other administrative support professionals.
Observation by Region:
- In Australia, it is celebrated on the first Friday in May (May 1 in 2015).
- In France it is celebrated on the third Thursday in April (April 16 in 2015).
- In India it is celebrated on the fourth of August every year to honor the work of Don Bosco School, Park Circus, group’s Administrator. The tradition, initiated 6 years ago, is followed all over India now.
- In New Zealand, it is on the third Wednesday of April (April 15 in 2015).
- In North America, Administrative Professionals’ Week is celebrated annually the last full week of April (April 20–26, 2014; April 19–25, 2015; April 24–30, 2016; April 23–29, 2017). Administrative Professionals’ Day is the Wednesday of that week (April 23, 2014; April 22, 2015; April 27, 2016; April 26, 2017), which is the day before the fourth Thursday of April.
- In South Africa, it is celebrated annually on the first Wednesday of September (September 2 in 2015). While Office Professionals are being celebrated in September, Receptionists are celebrated separately, on the second Wednesday in May (May 13 in 2015).
- In Hong Kong, it is celebrated annually on the Wednesday of the last full week of April.
The idea of Administrative Professionals’ Day began with Mary Barrett, president of the National Secretaries Association, now called IAAP (International Association of Administrative Professionals), and C. King Woodbridge, president of Dictaphone Corporation. They served on a council addressing a national shortage of skilled office workers. The account executives at Young & Rubicam originated the idea for a National Secretaries Week.
The official period of celebration was first proclaimed by U.S. Secretary of Commerce Charles Sawyer as “National Secretaries Week,” which was held June 1–7 in 1952, with Wednesday, June 4, 1952 designated as National Secretaries Day. The first Secretaries Day was sponsored by the National Secretaries Association with the support of corporate groups.
In 1955, the observance date of National Secretaries Week was moved to the last full week of April. The name was changed to Professional Secretaries Week in 1981, and became Administrative Professionals Week in 2000 to encompass the expanding responsibilities and wide-ranging job titles of administrative support staff. IAAP created National Secretaries Week (now Administrative Professionals Week) with two objectives in mind: to recognize “the secretary, upon whose skills, loyalty, and efficiency the functions of business and government offices depend,” and to call attention “through favorable publicity, to the tremendous potential of the secretarial career.”
Over the years, Administrative Professionals Week has become one of the largest workplace observances. The event is celebrated worldwide through community events, social gatherings, and individual corporate activities recognizing support staff with gifts. In the United States, the day is often celebrated by giving one’s assistant gifts such as flowers, candy, trinkets, lunch at a restaurant, gift cards, or time off. The IAAP suggests that employers support the holiday by providing training opportunities for their administrative staff through continuing education, self-study materials, or seminars.
Administrative Professionals Day is a registered trademark with registration number 2,475,334 (serial number 75/898930). The registrant is the International Association of Administrative Professionals.
In the United States there are more than 4.1 million Administrative Assistants, and in Canada, 475,000.
The first Certified Professional Secretary examination was administered in August 1951. There were 281 candidates at 15 examination centers. Today there are more than 250 exam centers worldwide to become a certified administrative professional.
National Secretaries Week (Renamed Administrative Professionals Week in 2000) originated in 1952. It is observed the last full week in April with Wednesday now designated as Administrative Professionals Day.
In 2001, IAAP introduced the Certified Administrative Professional program, an additional advanced certification.