A virtual assistant (VA) is an independent contractor who provides remote assistance for administrative tasks, resolving customer queries, social media management, etc.
You may be looking for ways to leverage the VA industry to benefit your business. But to do this, you’ll have to first keep up with the latest virtual assistant statistics and trends.
In this article, we’ll take a look at the top 13 virtual assistant stats that business owners should watch out for in 2022. We’ll also break down what these statistics mean for your business.
This article contains:
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- Top 13 Virtual Assistant Stats for Business Owners in 2021
- Saving on Operating Costs
- Qualified and Trained Virtual Assistants
- Top Destinations for Hiring Virtual Assistants
- Highest-Paid Virtual Assistant Jobs
- Increased Work Efficiency and Productivity
- Varying Average Work Hours
- Growing Number of Virtual Assistants
- Preference for Hourly Pay
- Job Satisfaction and Contentment
- Struggle to Establish Work-Life Balance
- Increase in Full-Time Job Roles
- Top Outsourced Task for VAs
- Preference for Human VAs
- What do these Virtual Assistant Stats Indicate?
Let’s get started.
Top 13 virtual assistant stats for business owners in 2021
Here are the top 2021 virtual assistant statistics to watch out for in 2022:
1. Saving on operating costs
According to a 2020 study, hiring virtual assistants can save up to 78% operating cost value compared to an in-house employee.
Hiring in-house employees can be a very costly and time-consuming process. Apart from salaries, there are additional costs for office space, desks, technical equipment, etc.
In contrast, virtual assistants don’t require additional equipment or office space, giving you more opportunities to save money.
A 2021 study by Global Workplace Analytics found that a US employer may observe over $11,000 in cost savings by hiring a remote workforce over in-house employees. This explains the surge in the number of virtual assistants over the years.
2. Qualified and trained virtual assistants
Most virtual assistants are skilled experts and are fueling the rapid growth of the VA industry. Statistics from a 2020 study suggest that 60% of virtual assistants have college degrees as of 2021.
Out of these:
- 6% have a master’s degree.
- 45% have a bachelor’s degree.
- 18% have an associate degree.
- 24% have other kinds of degrees.
- 7% have high school diplomas.
Virtual assistants no longer limit themselves to administrative skills and tasks. Most of them can handle multiple responsibilities, including social media marketing, customer support, etc.
3. Top destinations for hiring virtual assistants
According to research, India and the Philippines were the top two hiring destinations for Virtual assistants in 2021.
India and the Philippines are cost-effective outsourcing destinations.
For instance, hiring a virtual assistant in India would approximately cost you $288/month. Hiring the same talent would approximately cost you $400/month in the Philippines (December 2021).
For comparison, hiring a virtual assistant in New York can approximately cost you a whopping $3,743/month.
B. English proficiency
Both India and the Philippines have skilled talent with a good grasp of business English.
India is the second-largest English-speaking country.
On the other hand, the Philippines ranked 18 amongst 100 countries worldwide on the European Fellowship’s (EF) English Proficiency Index for 2021. Filipinos also had one of the highest literacy rates worldwide, at 91.6% in 2019.
4. Highest-paid virtual assistant jobs
According to statistics by Indeed, the average virtual personal assistant in the US gets paid $19.37/hour. This sums up to $58,344 annually in 2021.
San Francisco boasts the highest-paid virtual assistance services within the US, ranging from $60,875 to $92,483 annually as of 2021.
One reason for this trend is the US’s labor shortage problem.
Statistics suggest that there were 8.5 times as many small businesses as virtual assistants available in the US post the pandemic outbreak in 2020. This is one of the reasons why businesses in the US prefer to outsource their virtual assistant work to foreign countries.
For comparison, India has the lowest virtual assistant service rate, with a pay scale of $1-3/hour (approximately $3000 annually).
5. Increased work efficiency and productivity
Across industries, top US employers observe that virtual assistants are just as productive, if not more, than their in-house secretaries and administrative assistants.
With the absence of office distractions and the ability to work with a flexible schedule, virtual assistants are proving to be more efficient.
According to a 2021 study by Global Workspace Analytics, a global card services provider, American Express’ remote employees are 43% more productive than their office counterparts. The same study reveals software company JD Edwards noted that their virtual employees were 20-25% more productive than their on-site employees.
6. Varying average work hours
Virtual assistants have a pretty flexible schedule.
Potential clients can adjust their work hours anywhere from 15 hours/week to more than 40 hours/week..
One survey reveals that over 23.9% of virtual assistants work for 31 to 40 hours/week in 2021. That’s a significant increase compared to the 9% of virtual employees who worked for 31 to 40 hours/week in 2007.
However, note that virtual assistants can also work for 20 to 30 hours/week or even less, depending on your business needs.
7. Growing number of virtual assistants
A 2021 Statista study found that there were over 67 million freelancers in the US in the same year. This number is predicted to reach over 90 million by the year 2028.
At this rate, over 50% of the US workforce will be virtual professionals by 2028.
With this significant growth of the freelancer and gig worker markets, the virtual assistant industry also grew popular.
A 2021 Businesswire study predicts that the freelance virtual assistant market will grow by $4 billion between 2021 and 2025. The same study found that the virtual assistant industry market size is growing at a rate of 12% CAGR.
8. Paid on hourly basis
Studies show that over 87.7% of virtual assistants are paid by the hour.
The hourly pay can be based on productivity (getting paid after achieving work targets) or a flat rate per client. The hourly pay can vary depending on the virtual assistant’s work experience, location, and skills.
Some assistants can also ask for retainer packages from their clients on a monthly, hourly, or specified date range basis. This entails a client hiring a virtual assistant for a fixed period of time.
For more details, read our article on how much it costs to hire a virtual assistant.
9. Job satisfaction and contentment
The gig economy has been fast expanding and providing people with great financial opportunities and work flexibility. And this is reflected in gig workers’ attitude towards their work. Freelancers, including virtual assistants, are content with their career choices.
For example, over 82% of freelancers said they were proud of their careers in 2017.
Additionally, according to a 2017 ReportLinker survey, over 65% of freelancers believe they’re happier working independently than as traditional employees. In fact, over 84% of the virtual workers said that they found their job to be purposeful.
10. Struggle to establish work-life balance
Despite the option of flexible working in the VA job market, a small percentage of virtual workers face trouble finding a healthy work-life balance.
Buffer reported that over 27% of remote work employees struggled with unplugging after work hours in 2021.
The same study also observed that over 16% of remote employees faced difficulty collaborating with their clients. As a result of the nature of their job, more than 15% also faced loneliness and increased stress.
Another 2020 research by Robert Half suggests that over 55% of remote employees now work on the weekends, and over 34% put in more than eight hours of work in a day.
Virtual assistants are often paid on the basis of their productivity (target-based milestones). Not reaching these targets may often lead to stress and burnout symptoms.
11. Increase in full-time job roles
Businesses are recognizing how they can maximize their virtual and outsourced workforce.
As a result, most virtual assistants work full-time jobs instead of part-time.
Research data indicates that over 58.9% of VAs work full-time, and over 85% own a personal website.
Additionally, according to a survey by the Society of Virtual Assistants, UK, over 97% of VAs in the UK took up full time employee job roles in 2021, as compared to 80% in 2008.
A 2019 report from Zippia also found that of those working full-time, over 66% worked for the private sector, while another 29% worked for the public sector. Of these, IT companies hired the most number of full-time virtual assistants.
But where are businesses hiring these full-time VAs?
Using a freelancing platform to hire full-time VAs is a popular solution.
As of 2017, Upwork alone had over 5000 full-time virtual assistants listed on their site. Freelancer had 26,000 full-time virtual assistants, and PeoplePerHour had another 5000 virtual assistants.
12. Top outsourced tasks for VAs
A 2020 study found that companies outsourced work to 41% more virtual assistants in 2020, as they laid off full-time US staff during the pandemic.
But what is the most outsourced task?
According to the Business Process Outsourcing Market Size Report, 2021-2028, customer service is the top outsourced task for virtual employees in 2021. The same report suggests that the outsourcing market is expected to grow at a rate of 8.5% from 2020 to 2028, and customer service makes up over 31% of its revenue.
Upwork suggests that cold calling and email marketing are the top in-demand skills for customer service virtual assistants.
In addition to that, virtual assistants are also popular for the following services:
- Finance and accounting
- IT services
- Social media management
- Digital marketing
- Human resources
- Supply chain management
13. Preference for human VAs
Apart from hiring virtual assistants, small business owners and entrepreneurs can also save time and money by using Intelligent Virtual Assistants (IVA).
IVA uses machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI), voice command, and AI technology to boost business efficiency. Some examples are Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s smart speaker Alexa, or other chatbot technologies.
However, a 2019 CGS survey revealed that over 86% of customers still prefer humans to chatbots and intelligent virtual assistants.
This preference can encourage businesses to opt for outsourced virtual assistants rather than using AI technology in the coming year.
Now that we’ve looked at the top 13 virtual assistant stats, let’s see what these trends imply for your business.
What do these virtual assistant stats indicate?
Freelancing is set to make up most of the US workforce by 2027.
The bottom line is that with the rapid growth of freelancing and the gig economy, businesses are now more willing than ever to work with virtual assistants.
Additionally, working with virtual assistants comes with several statistically proven benefits, including increased productivity, cost efficiency, and employee satisfaction.
These virtual assistant statistics can help you keep up with the changing VA market. You can leverage this information to scale your business by hiring top talent from across the world.
Additionally, to maximize virtual assistant services, you can:
- Outsource to cheaper destinations to economically hire the right talent.
- Increase business efficiency by outsourcing non-core activities like customer service, social media management, data entry, etc., to specialized VAs.
- Adjust your remote assistant’s work hours depending on your business needs and help them establish a better work-life balance.
- Tie your VA’s pay with specific project targets and work hours for accurate billing.
- Manage your virtual assistants’ productivity and hold them accountable with the right employee productivity and performance management software.
But which employee productivity software should you choose?
Meet Time Doctor.
Time Doctor is a powerful time and productivity tracking tool trusted by major companies, like Verizon and Ericsson, and small businesses, like Thrive Market, to manage employee performance.
Time Doctor offers several features like manual and automatic time tracking, detailed reports, and smart payroll management for convenient virtual employee management.
Explore all the Time Doctor features that can help boost your virtual assistant’s productivity.
Virtual assistant statistics can be very helpful for business owners to understand how they can scale their businesses more efficiently and effectively.
You can go through our top 13 virtual assistant stats to understand what the market has in store for you in the future.
And if you need a powerful tool to manage your virtual assistants, you have Time Doctor. Sign up for a free trial to see how you can use Time Doctor to ensure remote employee productivity!