The role of a private PA in 2021

Tiger Recruitment
4 min readJun 28, 2021

At Tiger, we started recruiting for private PAs alongside our business support PA recruitment many years ago. At that time, the concept of a person requiring a ‘right hand’ to help manage their private life was alien to many. Since then, the demand for private household and family office support has grown, which led us to establish our private recruitment office in 2016. Private PA recruitment is now a staple of the division, and the role itself is a recognised and respected profession — one which offers career progression, opportunities to travel and a varied range of duties.

The difference a private PA can make

The fundamentals of the private PA role have stayed the same throughout the years: a private PA is effectively the go-to person for anything relating to their Principal’s private life and household(s). To list all the services a private PA provides would be impossible as the role is so encompassing but, in short, they are responsible for all household administration and organisation. This can include managing lifestyle bookings, private travel, events, property projects (from small renovations to total rebuilds and purchases), and the careful management of assets. This person is the conduit between the Principal, the wider family, and the domestic staff/family office team. This role can also work cohesively with a business assistant, ensuring that every area of the Principal’s life is covered.

While the core duties of a private PA remain the same regardless of whether they are stationed in a domestic setting or a family office, in a private household, a private PA’s provision tends to be more informal. This is because they will likely work from the home and be able to perform more ad-hoc, hands-on duties, such as taking the dog to the vet or wrapping Christmas presents. They will likely have to work with the whole family, including children and pets. By contrast, the duties of a family office private PA will likely be more structured and focused on their Principal’s needs.

How the role has changed over time

While the core tasks of a private PA have remained the same, there have been some changes in recent years. The need to have someone who can travel between homes has certainly increased, as all our lives have become more mobile. Private PAs are also now more accessible than ever due to communication technology, like WhatsApp and Facetime. As these have made it easier for a private PA to be contacted outside of core working hours, they’re now working longer hours than ever before.

As UHNWI value discretion above all else, private PAs must have an awareness of what they post online to ensure they aren’t accidentally leaking any confidential information. For example, if a private PA is working at their Principal’s summer house and they post an image of themselves online that gives away their location, this may breach their Principal’s privacy.

Core attributes of a private PA

When interviewing a private PA, our consultants look for certain attributes — the first being flexibility. This role is varied and does not conform to a standard 9.00am to 5.00pm office job, as private PAs often have to wear many hats in different settings. A second important quality is tenacity, because regardless of how challenging a request is, a Principal will expect it to be fulfilled quickly and efficiently. So, our consultants look for problem solvers and those with the ability to get results using their creativity and charm.

Emotional intelligence is also important, as this person will interact with a plethora of people; the ability to manage these relationships with empathy is key. Finally, discretion is absolutely essential. Our team is acutely aware that a person in this role is privy to intimate knowledge of their Principal’s life so, when discussing previous employers, we look for jobseekers to explain their experience carefully.

Choosing the right private PA

For the private individuals and family offices we work with, our objective is to present them with a shortlist of exceptional private PAs who have been thoroughly vetted and tested, allowing them to focus on the final allusive ingredient: chemistry. This person works very closely with their Principal, so their relationship can become a very personal one. It is also important to spend time together during the interview process — not only to discuss duties, but to give the Principal a chance to explain how they like to communicate, their values, and to talk about how they would like to be represented by their private PA.

Retaining staff

Our consultants always advise Principals to introduce the employee to every staff member they’ll interact with in their role to start building a good working relationship. Once a Principal has hired a private PA, they quickly become invaluable. We see many fabulous employees who have given years of excellent service to their Principals, assisting them with huge life events including marriages, births, deaths and relocations.

A danger area, however, is burnout — this is the most common reason we are given for an employee leaving a role. Therefore, to help retain staff, our consultants encourage employers to check in with them regularly to monitor workloads, ensure holidays are taken and provide extra help if required. This is also the person who will no doubt buy all of their Principal’s gifts for friends and family, so it’s equally important for an employer to remember their private PA’s birthday with a lovely gift! A discretionary annual bonus is also gratefully received.

Far from being a luxury, a private PA is an essential hire for busy individuals, allowing them to focus on their businesses and family and freeing up the most important commodity of all: time.

Private PA salary expectations

Less than three years’ experience: £30K- £35K

Three-five years’ experience: £50K- £60K

10+ years’ experience: £65K- £120K

If you’d like further information about salaries or private hiring trends, request your copy of our Salary and Benefits Review 2021 here:

Headquartered in the UK, Tiger Private recruits permanent and temporary staff for domestic households and family offices around the world. Contact the Tiger Private team directly at



Tiger Recruitment

We are a recruitment consultancy that specialises in matching exceptional support staff to top businesses and private individuals