An assessment of the continuing education needs of secretaries in Honolulu, Hawaii

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Montana State University - Bozeman, College of Business


The major purpose of this study was to assess the continuing education needs of secretaries in Honolulu, Hawaii. To collect data for the study, questionnaires were sent to 150 head secretaries in Honolulu, Hawaii, offices. The simple random sample was selected from the Honolulu Chamber of Commerce 1992 Directory of Member firms. Forty-three usable returns were received. Thirty-two percent of the respondents reported that they were employed by businesses which employed over 100 full-time employees, and thirty percent were employed by businesses employing less than 10 full-time employees. Ninety-seven percent of the respondents were female, 37% of the respondents were between the ages of 25-35. Salaries of over $10.00 per hour were reported by 81% of the respondents. Seventy-nine percent of the respondents continued their education beyond high school. The findings of the study showed that more than half of the respondents, sixty-five percent, believe they have a continuing education need in computer software. Only 4.6% of the respondents did not indicate any area of continuing education needs. The other two common areas of continuing education needs were management and human resources. Over 75% of the respondents report that they would prefer taking continuing education courses at a community college or state university setting. The data from the study indicated that most secretaries in Honolulu do not believe continuing education courses earn secretaries a higher wage. More than half of the respondents also do not believe that their level of education has impacted any promotion opportunities. The data also showed that only 25% of the secretaries believe that their employer would be willing to pay more for a secretary who pursues continuing education courses. Almost half of the respondents believe that their employers are willing to pay for their continuing education courses. Of the secretaries who believe their employers would help pay for their education, 37% felt that their employers would reimburse them for the full tuition costs. The data revealed that the most influential factor for secretaries in Honolulu to pursue continuing education courses is the belief/knowledge that furthering their education would actually enhance their career path. Based on the findings of the study, the writer recommends that educators prepare secretarial students for the varied perceptions of the profession, that secretarial students be challenged to develop a career path, that college business educators develop a close working relationship with the business community, that the college or university offer. career path counseling seminars for secretaries, that a seminar also be facilitated by the college of business faculty for local employers relating to their secretaries, and that the university offer a seminar on employer/employee communication.




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