Think of a virtual assistant – what do you see? One of the most common stereotypes of a VA is a stay at home mum earning pin money by working in the evenings and juggling childcare. This image has dogged the industry for many years, and it’s a stereotype that VAs find hard to shake.
Back in 2010, the VA industry’s body www.societyofvirtualassistants.co.uk first asked their members whether this was true – did they have young children and if so, did they have childcare in place? Strangely, this myth got shattered… just 3-4% of VAs were working in this way, making it comparable with the number of males in this heavily female-dominated industry.
However the latest figures from this survey are showing an interesting trend: Whilst numbers of mums with young children have remained fairly constant, they have seen a significant increase in mums working without childcare in place. The reason might be down to changing technology, explains SVA founder, Caroline Wylie.
“Alongside this unusual figure, we’ve also seen a big uplift in VAs offering Social Media Management as a service, with it outperforming several traditional services such as call answering and bookkeeping. This can be done outside traditional working hours, so it’s possible our VA mums are taking advantage of the flexibility and working after the kids go to bed without having to fork out for childcare. It’s still a very small percentage of VAs working this way, but certainly an interesting trend because in previous years we saw VAs without childcare earning less overall and charging a lower hourly rate.”
With home working bringing in £19 billion to the UK economy, small businesses are rapidly becoming an important part of the UK’s infrastructure – and they need admin support which is flexible and professional to support them.
Caroline goes on to say: “That glass ceiling just doesn’t exist for women when they build their own business. The world is changing, and business is changing with it.”
This year’s survey can be purchased from http://www.societyofvirtualassistants.co.uk/va-products/