Universidade Europeia: www.europeia.pt  |  Licenciatura em Secretariado e Comunicação Empresarial: http://bit.ly/sce_ue

sexta-feira, 1 de novembro de 2013

À conversa com... Marina Genesio, Presidente da EUMA Itália

Marina Genesio is the National Chairman of European Management Assistants (EUMA) Italy. After the Liceo Linguistico, where she studied Foreign Languages, she began working as a Sales Assistant, in 1988. She presently works as Sales & Management Assistant at Maflow BRS Srl.

Maria João Borges (MJB): In Portugal, a higher education degree in this area has been offered since 1962. However it seems that less and less people choose this career as a 1st option, even though there are lots of employment opportunities. Is there a similar trend in Italy?
Marina Genesio (MG):  I regret but in Italy there is no school or  university devoted to a proper education, enabling the Assistants to perform their profession. In most cases the school and university graduates didn’t choose this career, they simply become Assistant as a first job. Often  their expectation is to grow professionally by another profession and they do not consider, at the beginning, that “Assistant” is a general word, defining  different levels of responsibility and a multitude of interesting activities. 

MJB: Initially a profession undertaken only by men, positions are now mostly filled by women. Can you estimate a distribution between men and women in Italy?
MG: The percentage of women as Assistant is obviously higher because some remarkable skills in the feminine context, like job organization and care of details, are appreciated. Men have priority for positions requiring management and control skills, although more equity would be desirable. 

MJB: Is this a well rated profession in terms of the employment outlook for the next, say, 10 years?
MG: The unemployment nowadays has a general nature and inevitably concerns the  Assistants as well. In the last few days we heard of an early recovery, which we all hope can affect soon even the job demands. I do not believe it is a profession in decline, in spite of technology evolution, since the Assistant is an essential benefit for a company management.

MJB: Do recruiters and employers look for specific skills? Do they look for technical training or base their choice mostly in soft skills?
MG:  Technical skills are requested, indeed, in each specific case, surely the basis are languages knowledge and computer skills, specially on the web, as well as soft skills like good relationship attitudes.

MJB: Do these professionals have to have a specific license or to be part of a trade union in Italy?
MG: Well, as I have already mentioned in Italy there is no school or  university devoted to a proper training for the Assistants and no specific trade union exist.  EUMA aims to fill this educational gap, at least partially, through its network that promotes the relationship with the members of other  European countries, seminars at affordable cost and giving the opportunity to meet with professionals coming from all over the country. 

MJB: In Portugal, as in some other countries, there is a wide range of names for this profession, which often do not translate into levels of responsibility or autonomy. What is the situation in Italy?
MG: The situation in Italy is basically the same. In fact there are no precise, unequivocal  or official job descriptions. As a result almost each company has its own definitions and its scale of responsibility or autonomy.

MJB: In some countries there is a (somewhat) vigorous debate about the name secretary vs assistant. Is that the case in Italy? Why?
MG:  The controversy is strong and in general the definition of secretary is almost obsolete or related to colleagues who deal with operational activities, or that do not require specific knowledge.

MJB: How is the virtual dimension of the profession evolving in Italy? Do companies look for virtual assistants?

MG: The Virtual Assistant, as a professional profile, emerged quite recently in Italy and it is mainly considered for cost reasons. Nevertheless I guess that within the context of severe economic crisis, that afflicts our economy, could become an opportunity for highly motivated professionals to develop further their abilities and skills in the role and to manage moreover, personally their careers. 

Maria João Borges
Docente das UC de Práticas de Secretariado e Assessoria

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